Dubai Aviation Engineering Projects (DAEP) has received bids for an enabling works contract for the $33bn expansion of Al-Maktoum International airport.

The bidders include:

  • Al-Jaber Group (local)
  • Al-Naboodah Contracting (local)
  • Tristar (local)

The contract covers earthmoving work for the entire 36-square-kilometre site for the airport.

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 Al-Maktoum airport’s capacity to 130 million passengers a year and make it capable of accommodating 100 Airbus A380 aircraft at any one time. The first phase is expected to open in 2025.

Once the first phase is complete, a second phase will start that will increase the capacity further to 255 million passengers, with five runways, another terminal building and more concourses. The entire development will cover an area of 56 square kilometres and is due to be completed by the end of 2021.

For the design of the airport, DAEP has received updated offers from consultancies for the passenger terminal building and other landside areas.

At least two groups have participated in the tender. They are a UK team of Atkins and Mott MacDonald and a group including Lebanon’s Dar al-Handasah (Shair & Partners).

The bidders have submitted a series of revisions to their offers over the past six months.

One of the major challenges for such a large scheme is funding, although some export credit, notably from the UK with a proposal of $2bn, has been pledged. It is understood the consultancy bid from Atkins/Mott Macdonald will be supported by the UK funding facility.

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

To support the airport, Horizon Terminals, a subsidiary of Emirates National Oil Company (Enoc), is expected to start work on the extension of its 16-kilometre-long underground jet fuel pipeline in the fourth quarter of 2016.

The pipeline will link its storage terminal in Jebel Ali with the airport, adding to the existing 58km of pipeline between the terminal and Dubai International airport.