State-owned Egyptian Airports Company plans to invest a further $546m in upgrading the country’s airports over the next five years, according to a source close to the firm.

The airport operator currently manages 19 airports in Egypt and plans to increase the country’s international passenger numbers to 18 million passengers in 2010, compared with 12.7 million in 2005.

The company expects most of the growth to be generated by an increase in capacity at the five main tourist hubs of Sharm el-Sheikh, Hurghada, Luxor, Aswan and Abu Simbel.

Egypt already has about $1bn worth of airport projects under way, including the $400m renovation of terminal two at Cairo International airport, projects at Hurghada and Sharm el-Sheikh airports on the Red Sea coast, and the $100m expansion of Borg el-Arab airport in Alexandria.

Egyptian Airports Company has asked contractors to submit prequalification documents for work on a second runway at Hurghada International airport by 11 March. The company expects to invite contractors to bid for the construction contract in June (MEED 20:1:10).