The announcement follows the assembly of a project team in July, when Beirut-based Dar al-Handasah was appointed project manager and the financial advisory contract was signed with BNP Paribas. NACOof the Netherlands and the local Egyptian Consulting Group (ECG), the team which first drew up designs for a third terminal in 1993, are working on a redesign and possible changes to the scope of works (MEED 25:7:03).

The project at present calls for construction of a third terminal, including a concourse, three skyways and ancillary buildings over a total built-up area of 164,000 square metres, as well as the provision of electromechanical works and airside and landside external works. The main construction contract, which will also include construction of a 22,000-square-metre cargo storage complex, is expected to take 32 months to complete. A smaller contract for enabling works will be tendered locally (MEED 16:5:03).

The World Bank has made an initial commitment of $173 million on the basis of project costs of $381 million, to be re-evaluated when NACO and ECG complete their assessment. The institution has indicated, however, that it is prepared to meet as much as $300 million of project costs and final approval of funds is not due until 16 March 2004. Early estimations are that the composition of project expenses will be 70 per cent in foreign currency and 30 per cent in local currency. The government has not yet decided whether to secure private financing for the scheme.

The proposed terminal will increase capacity by a further 11 million passengers a year from its current capacity of just under 9 million passengers. On the back of the expansion scheme, the aviation ministry is also planning to bring in technical assistance to prepare a national airport masterplan, as well as introducing a regulatory framework for the aviation sector and the establishment of an independent regulatory authority.