Saudi airport projects set for take-off
Saudi Arabia's General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) will this week announce the top bidder among five companies vying for the contract to operate the Kingdom’s three international airports.
The winner of the contract will start work early next year and continue until December 2013, said GACA president Abdullah Al Ruhaimy.
He estimated total expenditure on new airport projects in Saudi Arabia at SR20 billion (around $5.3 billion).
The official, quoted by the Arab News, also said the short-listed companies are from Singapore, the Netherlands, Turkey, Germany and France.
“We’ll merge the airport management department at GACA with that of the new company,” he said in the report.
He said the GACA department would provide technical and administrative support to the new international service provider.
Ruhaimy said the winner of the contract would not only operate the international airports in Riyadh, Jeddah and Dammam, but “will also provide training to GACA staff internally and externally in order to speed up transfer of technology'.
GACA has already awarded operation of duty-free shops at Saudi international airports to Al Misbah Group and its foreign partner Desa, a Spanish company. The GACA is expected to make a revenue of SR800 million from these shops within the next 10 years.
Ruhaimy said efforts were under way to establish a new Haj terminal at King Abdul Aziz International Airport in Jeddah with the private sector support, and would be ready by 2011.
He said GACA expects an annual increase of eight percent in air traffic. Last year, more than 15 million passengers used the Jeddah airport while the airports in Riyadh and Dammam received 11 million and 3.5 million passengers, respectively.
Ruhaimy also disclosed plans to give the Kingdom’s international airports “corporate identity with independent financial status'.
He said the new plan would improve management of these airports.
“This will eventually help the state take a decision on privatization of these airports,” he said in a previous statement carried by Al Madinah Arabic daily.
He said the authorities are studying a proposal on setting up business cities within the Kingdom’s airports.
Crown Prince Sultan signed an SR902.91 million ($240.77 million) contract with Al Mabani Company earlier this year to develop and upgrade aviation facilities of Jeddah’s King Abdul Aziz International Airport as part of the expansion project.
“The contract covers expansion of the airport’s tarmac and runways in order to increase its annual capacity to 80 million passengers,” GACA said.
The work will also include construction of a new aircraft parking facility west of the Haj Terminal as well as modernization of ground lights systems and information technology infrastructure.
Under the project, 6.5 km-sq m area will be set aside for commercial projects, including hotels and company offices.
The new expansion project, estimated to cost SR18 billion ($4.8 billion), will enable the airport to receive large jumbo jets, including the A380s. The Jeddah airport expansion is significant as it represents the Kingdom’s main gateway to the holy cities.
The expansion involves the construction of two new terminals and renovation of the existing South Terminal, a new concourse with 25 gates, three connector buildings and an extensive upgrade of land-side and air-side infrastructure facilities.
Saudi Arabia has so far spend more than SR60 billion on airports.
Send E-mail to
TSN@The-Saudi.Net with questions or
comments about The Saudi Network.