The evaluation period required for the main package of Bahrain’s airport modernisation programme might take longer than initially expected.

”It is difficult to put an estimate at this stage on when the evaluation will be concluded,” BAC Chief Executive Mohamed Yousif Albinfalah tells MEED.

Bahrain’s Transportation and Telecoms Minister Kamal bin Ahmed Mohammed told MEED in early December that the Bahrain Airport Company (BAC) will award the main airport expansion contract in January.

So far, various MEED sources have indicated that commercial offers from at least four of the nine groups have been opened:

It is thought that the Jeddah-based Saudi Binladin Group is the frontrunner for the main contract after submitting a bid of about BD355m ($938m).

However, since the bids are still under evaluation, any talk on the frontrunner at this point amounts to speculation, according to Albinfalah.

Other groups that submitted an offer for the project include:

  • Consolidated Contractors Company (CCC; Athens-based) / Shapoorji Pallonji (India)
  • Ghantoot Group (UAE) / Acciona (Spain) / Mohamed Jalal Construction (Bahrain)
  • Habtoor Leighton Group (UAE/Australia) / Hochtief (Germany) / Ahmed Mansoor Al Ali (Bahrain)
  • Limak (Turkey) / Tecton (UAE)
  • Shade Corporation (Saudi Arabia) / Astaldi (Italy) / Trojan

The main airport expansion project, 80 per cent of which is being financed by the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD), involves the construction of:

  • A 170,000-square-metre terminal building
  • Associated buildings
  • Infrastructure such as car parks and aircraft parking areas

It also involves managing the selected subcontractors working on specialist packages for baggage-handling systems, passenger loading bridges, information technology (IT) systems and security.

When completed, the new terminal is expected to increase the airport’s capacity to 13.5 million passengers a year.

In March, Bahrain’s Transportation & Telecommunications Ministry signed a contract for enabling works on the passenger terminal building with Nicosia-based Cyprus Building and Road Construction Company (CYBROC).

French consultancy ADPI has been appointed by Bahrain Airport Company to perform all studies on the development of the airport over the next 20 years. As well as developing the new terminal, the study also includes determining future schemes that will support the airport’s operations.

US-based Hill International has been awarded the project management consultancy (PMC) for the scheme. Bahrain Airport Company is the client representative working for the Transportation & Telecommunications Ministry.

Expanding the airport is a key priority for the Bahraini government. Some 8.5 million passengers have passed through the airport in 2014, which is more than twice its current capacity.