Top 10 Gulf airport projects

Airport projects are yet to face the fiscal axe as GCC countries look to cope with low oil prices

PHOTO: The expansion plans for Al Maktoum International Airport was first announced in September 2013. Credit: Supplied

1. Al Maktoum International Airport Expansion
Country: UAE
Owner: Dubai Airports
Budget: $33bn
Progress: Enabling works

Expansion plans for Al Maktoum International Airport were first announced in September 2013 after the start of passenger operations. Existing facilities include a single A380 compatible runway; a passenger terminal with capacity of 5m passengers per annum (expandable to 7m); a cargo terminal building with a capacity of 1mtpa and a 92-metre air traffic control tower. The planned expansion, to be executed in two phases, will enable the airport to accommodate more than 220m passengers a year. The first phase will accommodate 120m passengers annually and accommodate 100 A380 aircraft at any one time. In March 2015, UK-based Leslie Jones Architecture was commissioned to work on a commercial design strategy for the airport.

In pictures: Top 10 Gulf airport projects

2. Hamad International
Country: Qatar
Owner: New Doha International Airport Steering Committee
Budget: $18bn
Progress: Phase 2 cleared

After being plagued by a 10-year delay, Phase 1 of Hamad International Airport started operations in April 2014 with a capacity of 30m passengers a year and a 600,000 sqm passenger terminal building. The project covers 28 sq km. In December 2014, phase two was cleared with the fourth quarter of 2015 set as the deadline for awarding the design contract, completing the design works and deciding the budget. The government is planning to invest $3bn in the third phase, which will take the capacity to 53m passengers a year and increase the size of the terminal to 900,000 sqm. In March, the New Doha International Airport Steering Committee invited consultants to bid for the programme management of the future expansion works.

In pictures: Top 10 Gulf airport projects


3. Kuwait airport expansion
Country: Kuwait
Owner: Directorate General of Civil Aviation
Budget: $4.8bn
Progress: Delayed

The project involves increasing initial capacity to handle 13m passengers a year by 2016, with the flexibility to increase it to 25m passengers in the second phase and 50m passengers a year in the third phase. The expansion includes construction of a new terminal building and extension of the existing runways, construction of a hotel, car parks and associated aprons and remote stands. In November 2014, a consortium of Kharafi National and Turkey’s Limak Holding was awarded the contract. Recently, state news agency KUNA reported that a tender committee of public works ministry has recommended that all bids to construct the new terminal be rejected. According to media reports, the lowest bid exceeded the estimated cost of the project by 39% and did not meet technical specifications.

In pictures: Top 10 Gulf airport projects


4. King Khalid International Airport expansion
Country: Saudi Arabia
Owner: General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA)
Budget: $4bn
Progress: Terminal 5 on track

King Khaled International Airport in Riyadh is the second biggest airport in Saudi Arabia, after Jeddah. In 2013, a joint venture of Turkey’s TAV and local AlArrab Contracting Company was selected to build Terminal 5 on this scheme – currently, the airport consists of four passenger terminals (only three of which are in use). The expansion programme will extend capacity to 35m passengers a year from the existing capacity of 20m. In October last year, Al Mabani General Contractors Company was awarded a $90m contract to carry out the taxiway and airplane parking package. The entire programme is expected to be completed by 2017 with the airport starting operations in January 2018.

In pictures: Top 10 Gulf airport projects


5. Abu Dhabi Midfield Terminal building
Country: UAE
Owner: Abu Dhabi Airports
Budget: $3bn
Progress: Opening in 2017

The Midfield Terminal Building project at Abu Dhabi International Airport is expected to achieve 60-65% completion by the end of this year. In an interview with Gulf News in March, Chairman Ali Majed Al Mansouri said there has been “some changes” to the design, but that construction remains on schedule. Abu Dhabi Airports has hired the Operational Readiness and Airport Transfer (ORAT) team that will assess the readiness of the terminal, he said, while staff and dummy passengers will test the terminal from the first quarter of 2017. Alongside the MTB, work on the airfield and terminal taxiway are progressing as well. Last month, the client approved 12 bidders for the land-side support facilities contract. Also, Smiths Detection was awarded a $125m contract to supply the new terminal with security equipment.

In pictures: Top 10 Gulf airport projects


6. Muscat International Airport
Country: Oman
Owner: Oman Airports Management Company (OAMC)
Budget: $1.8bn
Progress: Behind schedule

According to Middleeasttenders.com, the project is set to be handed over in early 2016 almost two years behind its planned completion date of April 2014. In December 2014, Oman Air’s A330 aircraft landed on the new runway to mark the official inauguration of Phase 1 of this project which also included air traffic control tower and civil aviation building. Currently, the structural steel is almost in place, the cladding is in progress along with MEP systems and stone work. The new facility will have a capacity of 12m annual passengers in the first phase, 24m in the second, 36m in the third, and 48m in the final phase. Nearly 2.41m people used the airport for international or domestic travel in the first quarter of this year.

In pictures: Top 10 Gulf airport projects


7. Prince Mohammad bin Abdulaziz Airport Expansion – Phase 1
Country: Saudi Arabia
Owner: GACA
Budget: $1.4bn
Progress: Test runs

More than a million Hajj pilgrims use the Prince Mohammad Bin Abdulaziz Airport each year and, together with around 4m Umrah travellers, this makes it the fourth busiest airport in Saudi Arabia. In 2013, a consortium led by Turkish construction giant TAV was awarded the build-operate-transfer (BOT) contract for the phase 1 expansion of Prince Mohammed Bin Abdulaziz Airport in Medina, the first airport privatisation deal in Saudi Arabia. The consortium will operate the airport for 25 years. The work on first phase 1, which involves increasing the capacity of the airport from 4m passengers per year to 8m passengers, has been completed on schedule, and test runs have commenced. The second and third phases will increase capacity to 14m and 27m passengers a year respectively.

In pictures: Top 10 Gulf airport projects


8. Bahrain International Airport expansion – Phase 1
Country: Bahrain
Owner: Bahrain Airport Company (BAC)
Budget: $1bn
Progress: Enabling works

Bahrain International Airport is the home of Gulf Air and receives nine million passengers a year. Recently, Cyprus Building and Road Construction Company was awarded a $3.68m first phase of the enabling works on the project, which involves relocation of utility services away from the footprint of the existing terminal to make way for construction to start on the new passenger terminal building. Last year, the Transportation Ministry invited contractors to pre-qualify for the construction of the terminal and other buildings. The new terminal is expected to be completed by 2018, cover 201,467 sqm and accommodate 14m passengers a year. The project management consultant is Hill International.

In pictures: Top 10 Gulf airport projects


9. Salalah International Airport expansion – Phase 1
Country: Oman
Owner: Ministry of Transport & Communications
Budget: $765m
Progress: Opening 2015

Developed in tandem with the new Muscat airport, Salalah will be the second international gateway to Oman and is expected to boost tourism in the Dhofar region. Late last year, the Ministry of Transport and Communications (MoTC) had said that 93% of work on the airport has been completed. The new airport terminal will occupy an area of 65,000 sqm and have public parking that can accommodate up to 2,200 vehicles. Its annual capacity of 1m passengers per annum can be expanded up to 6m based on demand. In March this year, the ministry said that remaining works related to IT and security systems has been awarded to Thales security solutions.

In pictures: Top 10 Gulf airport projects


10. Ajman International Airport
Country: UAE
Owner: Civil Aviation
Department of Ajman
Budget: $571m
Progress: Blueprint approved

In September last year, Sheikh Ammar bin Humaid Al Nuaimi, Crown Prince of Ajman, approved the final plans and designs for the new Ajman International Airport project, a project first mooted in 2008. The airport, which will be located in the Al Manama area, will give additional impetus to the emirate’s tourism sector. It is expected to handle nearly one million passengers a year when completed. The detailed design phase is being led by Cyrrus UK and is slated to be completed this year, according to Ajman airport’s website. The Government of Ajman and Whitelake Consortium FZC, the development company planning to design and construct Ajman International Airport and a new city in the Al Manama enclave, have formally agreed on an action plan, noted the website.

In pictures: Top 10 Gulf airport projects

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