The other main contenders for the contract were a group comprising NACOof the Netherlands, the US’ CH2M Hilland DHV International (UK), and a US team of Parsons Brinckerhoff Internationaland Turner International. NACO was the design consultant for the project.

The $600 million-1,000 million project calls for the construction of two new terminals, refurbishment of the existing terminal, a new concourse with 25 contact gates, three connector buildings, additional parking facilities and a new access road. The upgrade of both landside and airside infrastructure and utilities is also planned. Construction work is expected to begin in the second quarter of 2004, with completion set for late 2010.

The government initially considered implementing the project on a build-operate basis. However, it is now expected that it will be state-funded.

The expansion will relieve growing pressure on KAIA, which in addition to being the gateway to the holy cities of Mecca and Medina is the main base for Saudi Arabian Airlines. The airport handles over 13 million passengers a year, a figure that is projected to grow to 21 million passengers by 2010.