EXCLUSIVE: Firms wait for Riyadh airport contract award

27 May 2018
Discussions with baggage handling system suppliers began last year

Firms are still waiting for Saudi Arabia's General Authority  of Civil Aviation (Gaca) to award the baggage handling system (BHS) contract for the King Khalid International airport, a source familiar with the project tells MEED.

“We are still waiting for the results,” a spokesperson for one of the firms bidding for the project tells MEED.

MEED reported last November that Gaca was holding discussions with a number of BHS suppliers including Germany’s Siemens and the Netherlands’ Vanderlande.

MEED understands Vanderlande has provided BHS to  Saudi Arabia’s international airports. It recently signed a contract to upgrade the BHS at Dammam’s King Fahd International.

Gaca awarded the SR2.2bn ($587m) renovation contract for Riyadh’s King Khalid International airport to the local/Turkish joint venture in early 2017.

Renovation works on the airport commenced in early 2017 and are expected to be completed in 2021.

The IC Ictas/Al-Rashid team lost its bid for the contract to upgrade the terminals at the Riyadh airport in 2015 to a joint venture comprising Germany’s Hochtief, local Nahdat al-Emaar and India’s Shapoorji Pallonji. However, the contract with the Hochtief-led team was cancelled in 2016.

Unlike the cancelled contract, which calls for the construction of new concourses, the contract with IC Ictas/Al-Rashid covers mainly renovation and refurbishment works aimed at expanding the terminals’ capacities and improving services.

The redevelopment of the airport will be conducted in phases, starting with terminals 3 and 4. Terminal 3 previously catered to domestic flights, which were moved to Terminal 5 last year, while Terminal 4 is unused.

Succeeding phases will entail redevelopment work for terminals 1 and 2, which cater to international flights.

Terminal 5, which was completed in 2016, is being operated and managed by Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) under a five-year contract with the General Authority of Civil Aviation (Gaca). A joint venture of Turkey’s TAV and local Al-Arrab Contracting won the $430m contract to build the terminal, which has the capacity to handle up to 12 million passengers annually, in 2012.

Effective last year, all airports in Saudi Arabia were organised under a holding entity called Saudi Civil Aviation Holding Company. The airport company has been formed for the kingdom’s key airports including the Riyadh Airports Company, which operates King Khalid International.

A minority stake in Riyadh Airports Company will be offered to private investors via an equity sale. US-based Goldman Sachs was hired earlier last year to advise on the sale. However, it is understood that the airport privatisation plan has been put temporarily on hold.


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