Saudi authorities to name new airports operator
Author: BI-ME staff
Source: BI-ME and agenciesPublished: 30 September 2007
SAUDI ARABIA. The top bidder in five companies vying for the contract to operate the Kingdom’s three international airports will be announced on Tuesday, said Abdullah Al-Ruhaimy, President of the General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA).
He said the short-listed companies were from Singapore, the Netherlands, Turkey, Germany and France. The winner of the contract would start work early next year and continue until December 2013, he added.
“We’ll merge the airport management department at GACA with that of the new company,” he told Al-Eqtisadiah. 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 Aldeasa, a Spanish company. The GACA is expected to make a revenue of SR800 million from these shops within the next ten years.
Ruhaimy further said that 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 estimated total expenditure on new airport projects in the Kingdom at SAR20 billion.
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 SAR902.91 million (US$241 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 modernisation of ground lights systems and information technology infrastructure. Under the project, 6.5 kilometre-square metre area will be set aside for commercial projects, including hotels and company offices.
The new expansion project, estimated to cost SAR18 billion (US$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 landside and airside infrastructure facilities.
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