Kuwait to choose winning bid for airport

Decision on contractor for airport will be in Q1 of 2013

Kuwait will choose a winning bid for the construction of its new airport in Q1 of 2013.

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Kuwait plans to choose a winning bid for the construction of its new airport by the first quarter of this year, a government official has said.

The winner will be chosen from 18 companies currently bidding for the project, which is key for the country’s economic development. It is expected to cost around $3.2bn and is scheduled to open in 2020. Government officials hope it will serve as a regional air travel hub.

Faisal Al Ustaith, a director at the Ministry of Public Works, told Reuters that the target was to get 25 million passengers passing through the airport annually. Kuwait’s current capacity is at seven million.

“We expect an announcement during the first quarter of the year,” he said.

Several of the bidding companies may join together to form a consortium that gets the winning bid, Ustaith said, pointing out that all the bidders were foreign companies.

Large development projects in Kuwait have been stalled for years by political wrangling and bureaucracy, leaving the oil-rich state relatively underdeveloped compared to its GCC neighbours, a Reuters report said.

However, in the last few months, authorities have begun issuing contracts for some major projects, fuelling hopes that Kuwait could finally be on its way up.

The new airport will have 51 gates, with 21 slated for use by large aircraft such as the Airbus A380, Ustaith said.

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