The Bahrain Airport Company (BAC) will award the main airport expansion project in January 2016, Bahrain’s Transportation and Telecoms Minister Kamal bin Ahmed Mohammed tells MEED on the sidelines of the 5th Arabian Aviation and Media Summit held on 7 December in Manama.

The government executive, however, declined to comment if the evaluation of the bidders’ financial offers or award will be taking place in Abu Dhabi. The UAE’s Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD) will finance part of the project, with the rest being shouldered by the Bahraini government.

Six other airport packages including infrastructure, baggage handling systems, security, information technology (IT) and horizontal and vertical transport systems  willalso be awarded over the next six weeks, according to Mohammed, who delivered the keynote at the summit.

“Enabling works are now underway for the new airport to ensure that we quickly break ground for the construction in early 2016,” said Mohammed.

At least nine groups have submitted offers for the expansion of the Bahrain International airport expansion project, whch aims to bring the current capacity to 14 million passengers a year. “This [capacity] should meet Bahrain’s requirements for the next 15 to 20 years,” Mohammed added.

The government executive also said they will continue to invest in its carrier Gulf Air. “We have been investing in Gulf Air, which has resulted in major improvement in its finances, but we need to to do more.”