The plan will be approved by Crown Prince Sheikh Salman bin Hamad al-Khalifa by the end of the summer. The tendering process will then get under way for the main construction contracts on the expansion of the airport.

“The crown prince will sign the masterplan and then the process will begin – issuing tenders and acquiring land,” says an official at Civil Aviation Affairs (CAA), Bahrain’s aviation regulator.

The expansion scheme will increase capacity at the airport to 15 million passengers a year from 10 million, and is scheduled for completion by 2011.

A new cargo terminal will provide capacity for 1 million tonnes a year. Last year, the airport handled 374,000 tonnes.

The masterplan has been drawn up by the UK’s Jacobs Consultancy with further work carried out by GE Consulting of the US. In 2007, Beirut-based Dar al-Handasah (Shair & Partners) won the project management services contract for the airport (MEED 20:4:08).
The CAA is also finalising preparations to overhaul the management of the airport. A company, run by private sector staff and the regulator, will be set up to run the business on a commercial basis, before the tendering process begins.

“The new company can charge what is required to boost revenue so it was decided to bring in the private sector,” says the CAA official. “It will begin operations by the end of the summer.”