The Civil Aviation Ministry is pressing ahead with its World Bank-backed programme to restructure the civil aviation sector, with a strong turnout for the advisory contract on the development of cargo facilities at local airports in late August, and the announcement of plans to further liberalise the in-flight services subsidiary of EgyptAir Holding Company. In addition, Egyptian Company for Airports & Air Navigationhas issued further invitations to international consultants to express interest in advising on three different aspects of the airport masterplan.

At least 30 local and international companies submitted expressions of interest to Egyptian Holding Company for Airports & Air Navigationin late August to advise on the development of a new cargo hub at Cairo International Airport. The project involves developing a national cargo strategy, enhancing the performance of EgyptAir Cargo Companyand restructuring and developing the cargo village at Cairo airport to accommodate increased traffic following construction of the planned third terminal. The World Bank will finance the 29-week study, which is due to start on 1 November.

The World Bank is also financing construction of the new terminals at Cairo and Sharm el-Sheikh airports, for which awards on the main construction packages are imminent. The bank is also overseeing the tendering process for the operation and maintenance contracts for the six airports. Eight international companies have submitted bids for the contracts, which are being offered in four packages and are due to be awarded in October (MEED 13:8:04; 11:6:04; 2:4:04).

EgyptAir Inflight Servicesis also understood to be preparing for a capital increase in preparation for a new round of investment. ‘This section of EgyptAir is to some extent already liberalised as there are already several local companies involved as subcontractors, but these reports are positive as they indicate new ideas are filtering through,’ says a local aviation analyst. ‘The real start is bringing in private airport management, and EgyptAiritself has been putting together a business plan which will require major investment in the near future. To do this, you need to tap new markets, particularly the private sector and foreign investors.’

Expressions of interest are due on 27 September for three consultancy contracts, which call for the drafting of a 20-year national airport masterplan, advising on liberalisation of the air transport sector and building up airport management capacity.