EXCLUSIVE: Contractors eye Lebanon airport expansion

20 May 2018
International Finance Corporation will advise Lebanon on airport expansion plan

Contractors are keen to participate in the planned expansion of Beirut’s Rafic Hariri International airport provided the project client, Lebanon’s Public Works and Transport Ministry (MOPWT), is able to secure financing for the project.

“We would be keen to bid for the project ... but I believe they must first sort out the [required] financing,” a source familiar with the plan tells MEED.

Lebanon's Higher Council for Privatisation (HCP) recently appointed Washington-based International Finance Corporation (IFC) as transaction adviser for the project, which aims to expand the airport’s capacity from 6 to 20 million passengers a year.

IFC will conduct studies on the planned airport expansion over a period of 21 months, according to a local media report.

Prior to this, it is understood that the Lebanese government has been reviewing various proposals for expanding the airport, which processed an estimated 8.23 million passengers in 2017.

Lebanon-based consultancy Dar al-Handasah is understood to have proposed a plan of action to increase the airport’s capacity to 10 million passengers a year that requires a budget of AED200m ($54m).

Dar al-Handasah proposed a two-phased expansion plan that includes:

  • Reviewing the existing terminal's interior and exterior design in order to enhance capacity from six to eight million passengers a year;
  • Creating a new passenger area by converting the old customs facility and nearby cargo hangar to accommodate an additional two million passengers annually ;
  • Developing new procedures, technology and systems for ground handling, traffic and security operations;

Another company is understood to have proposed rehabilitating the runways, aprons and other associated infrastructure for approximately $28m.

Middle East Airlines, Lebanon’s national carrier, is also planning to undertake a $150m expansion of its headquarters located at the airport. According to local media reports, MEA intends to start the expansion works in 2019.

MEA expects to add 15 new aircraft to its fleet between 2019 and 2021.

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