Banks in Saudi Arabia have started talks with prequalified bidders on the $1.5bn first phase development of Medina Airport.

The project is being undertaken as a public-private partnership (PPP) and the General Authority of Civil Aviation (Gaca) has given the eight prequalified firms until 4 September to submit first round questions on the bidding documents.

The talks with banks come ahead of a 15 December deadline for bids to be made. According to the request for proposals (RFP) opening of the financial bids should occur in January 2011, followed by the selection of a preferred bidder and the notification of an award by early February.

The RFP does not give details on the financing requirements of each bid, other than to say that the bid should include partial to full debt raising based on meeting a minimum debt to equity ratio of 20 per cent equity.