Lebanon’s Dar al-Handasah (Shair & Partners) is the frontrunner for the design and supervision of the passenger terminal building and other landside areas on the $33bn expansion of Al-Maktoum International airport.

The move comes after the other bidder for the role, a UK team of Atkins and Mott MacDonald, was informed by Dubai Aviation Engineering Projects (DAEP) that its bid has not been successful.

The UK bid was supported by an offer of $2bn of export finance from the UK government.

The ambitious upgrade to the airport will make it the biggest in the world by 2050 with the capacity to handle 255 million passengers a-year. The planned construction work includes the new terminal building, six nodes or concourses connected to the terminal by people movers, and new runways.

The first phase alone will be the largest airport construction scheme ever undertaken in the world. Once complete, it will take the airport’s capacity to 130 million passengers a year and make it capable of accommodating 100 A380 aircraft at any one time. The first phase is expected to open in 2025.

The concept design for the new terminal has been completed by a team of Lebanon’s Dar al-Handasah and France’s ADPI.