The first part of the expansion programme entails the addition of 10 aircraft parking stands and eight aerobridges, Al-Gaoud said.

The ministry has also invited interested parties to submit terms of reference for a masterplan of the use of land on the northern side of the airport as a cargo oasis. It is one of a number of projects under way to both upgrade and expand facilities at the airport to cope with anticipated strong growth in passenger numbers and cargo volumes of 7 per cent and 15 per cent a year respectively up to 2015, Al-Gaoud said. A new control tower is under construction, due for completion in late 2005, and detailed discussions are ongoing with a private consortium for new parking and retail facilities linked to the existing terminal. A taxiway has recently been completed to an emergency second runway and new cargo bays and executive aprons have also been built.