JORDAN. The highly anticipated new terminal at Amman Queen Alia International Airport (QAIA) opened on Sunday with the first three scheduled flights. A full transfer of operations from the old terminal is set for 21 March. The new terminal houses what operator Airport International Group (AIG) has pledged will be a top-class commercial offer, anchored by a World Duty Free Group walk-through store.

AIG confirmed that three Royal Jordanian (RJ) Airlines flights departed from the terminal on 3 March, heading for Athens, Doha and Sharm El Sheikh.

AIG Chief Executive Kjeld Binger said: “By starting with three initial departure flights, RJ and AIG are in the process of preparing for the full transfer of all operations to the new terminal. This operation represents an exciting phase for us at QAIA as we are introducing a new traveller experience by leveraging modern facilities, advanced work mechanisms and cutting-edge passenger handling systems.

“We at AIG value our strategic partnership with RJ, Jordan’s official carrier, and we are confident that, together, we will be able to achieve our vision of positioning QAIA as a niche transit hub in the region.”

The new terminal significantly increases the airport’s capacity to 9 million passengers annually, nearly three times the previous airport capacity of 3.5 million passengers. Future expansion will further increase the airport capacity to 12 million passengers a year.

As previously reported, World Duty Free is operating the main 2,600sq walk-through store in the terminal, as well as 300sq m stores in its two piers and an Arrivals shop. The retailer confirmed that its new stores have opened. An official inauguration will take place in coming weeks.

Renderings of the new World Duty Free stores at QAIA

An all-important Sense of Place will also be delivered at the new terminal after AIG revealed an agreement to give retail space to two Jordanian non-profit, non-governmental organisations.

It has signed partnership agreements with Jordan River Foundation (JRF) and the Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature (RSCN), which are both behind socio-economic and environmental initiatives designed to empower local communities by generating employment opportunities.

They will showcase and sell traditional hand-made products at the new QAIA terminal. All featured products will be made by local craftsmen to enable underprivileged communities and families raise their living standards.

The new terminal will become fully operational later this month

Kjeld Binger said: “These organisations have been instrumental in employing underprivileged Jordanians in marginalised and rural areas. Through this partnership, not only do we hope to support them in securing sustainable incomes for their beneficiaries, but we also aim to give them the opportunity to showcase Jordan’s rich culture and local craftsmanship to our esteemed passengers.”

The RSCN and JRF stores will be located in the north pier and south pier of the new terminal respectively. They will make up part of the building’s 6,000sq m retail space, +25% larger than the airport’s older retail area.

*We’ll bring you images and further details of the commercial offer at QAIA’s new terminal soon.