‘The modernisation of Damascus International Airport is divided into three phases,’ Transport Minister Yarob Badr told MEED in mid-May. ‘The first phase, which will last until 2010, aims to boost capacity to 3 million passengers a year. The existing departure and arrival halls will be expanded and a new corridor will be constructed separating both halls; a new cargo terminal will be built; and maintenance facilities for aircraft will be upgraded.’

Phase 2 will target 5 million passengers a year and a satellite building will be added. Phase 3, to be implemented by 2020, will aim to boost numbers to 10 million passengers a year with a new passenger terminal. ‘A memorandum of understanding was signed with the French government in 2001 covering technical assistance for the airport’s upgrade,’ said Badr. France’s Spie Batignolles carried out the masterplan for the rehabilitation.

Damascus is also planning to upgrade airports across the country. The local Lama has the contract to build new departure and arrival gates at Aleppo International Airport to accommodate more than 1.5 million passengers a year. The runway at Bassel Asad airport in Latakia will be extended, while the parking lot for aircraft and the existing passenger terminal will be upgraded to handle 500,000 passengers a year. There are also plans to upgrade airports at Kamshley and Deir al-Zor (MEED 18:11:05).