Four consultancy firms – France’s Systra, Japan’s Pacific Consultants, the US’ Parsons Brinckerhoff and Arup of the UK – have been technically approved by NAT and are expected to submit commercial proposals for package 1 on 13 March, which will be followed by the contract award to the lowest bidder on the same day.

Technical and commercial offers are due to be submitted on 14 March for construction package 1, covering civil works, and package 2, involving electrical installations. Commercial bids will be opened in mid-May.

Bidders have until 21 March to submit technical and commercial bids to NAT for packages 3 and 4, covering signalling and track laying. Commercial offers will be opened on 21 May. Suppliers will be able to purchase tender documents for the last package, rolling stock, from 12 March, with bids due on 1 June.

A total of 25 international and local contractors were prequalified last year to bid for the five packages. The 33-kilometre line 3 will link the western districts of Cairo with the international airport.

Phase 1 involves the construction of a 4.5-kilometre underground section between Abbasiya and Ataba, where an interchange will be built with line 2. It also includes four underground stations, a light repair workshop at Abbasiya and the upgrading of the mainline track between Abbasiya and Shoubra el-Khaima. A French/local team of Systra and Arab Consulting Engineers drew up the initial designs. Construction will take about four years (MEED 17:1:03).

Three further phases are planned to be developed over the next 10 years. Phase 2 will continue the line eastwards by 6.2 kilometres from Abbasiya to Al-Ahram in Heliopolis. Phase 3 covers the western section of line between Ataba and Imbaba in Mohandiseen, while the 11-kilometre-long phase 4 involves the last section between Al-Ahram and the airport.

Bidders are expected to bring project funding to the scheme.