With the exception of Cairo terminal 3, the largest project in the expansion programme involves construction of a new international airport at Borg al-Arab. The $100 million project, for which preliminary designs have been drawn up by the US’ Aarotec, will involve construction of a single terminal capable of handling 2,000 passengers an hour, a 3,500-metre-long runway, an apron for 14 aircraft, a control tower and a second terminal and an apron capable of accommodating up to three cargo aircraft.

The project was originally tendered on a build-operate-transfer (BOT) basis in October 2001, but was postponed due to lack of international interest. Negotiations are now under way with the Japan Bank for International Co-operation over a loan for the scheme. ‘We have a mission from Japan arriving at the end of October for more investigations, and after that we expect to issue a tender, although this will not be for some months,’ says Egyptian Airports Companychairman Mohammed Refaat.

The programme also involves the upgrade and expansion of three airports at Luxor, Sharm el-Sheikh and Hurghada. The most advanced of the three projects is the $40 million Luxor scheme, which involves expanding the existing passenger terminal to 14,000 square metres from 9,000 square metres, as well as building a new transit hall, refurbishing the existing check-in hall, increasing the number of aircraft stands to 33 from 27 and strengthening the runway and taxiway. The government-funded project is being carried out by Arab Contractors (Osman Ahmed Osman & Company) and is scheduled for completion in 2005.

Hurghada airport is also due for an estimated $50 million upgrade, which will include construction of a new terminal building and apron with capacity for 25 aircraft. The airports holding company is finalising designs and assessing costs before setting a time-scale for the project.

The other project is the expansion of Sharm el-Sheikh international airport. The World Bank has indicated it is prepared to finance most of the costs of the $44 million scheme, which includes the expansion and upgrade of existing facilities and the construction of a new 38,885-square-metre terminal with six gates for international arrivals and departures and one gate for domestic flights. A World Bank appraisal team is scheduled for a meeting with the Civil Aviation Ministry on 8 December. Preliminary designs have been drawn up by Beirut-based Dar al-Handasah (Shair & Partners), which is also acting as consultant on the Cairo terminal 3 project. Expressions of interest are due on 12 November and a full tender is expected to be issued in January.