Saudi Civil Aviation Holding Company (SCAHC) has shortlisted mainly international banks for the advisory role for the planned sale of a significant stake in Riyadh’s King Khalid International Airport (KKIA), according to sources familiar with the scheme.

It is understood that SCAHC, the newly formed owner of civil aviation assets in the kingdom, earlier invited both local and international banks for the role.

An award for the financial advisory role is expected before end of July.

One source also tells MEED that a maximum minority stake of 49 per cent of the airport is planned to be sold to private investors, while another source says they have an impression that the size of the stake to be offered to private investors has been left open.

In early 2016, reports arising from the kingdom indicated that the General Authority of Civil Aviation (Gaca), which until this year owned and operated airports in Saudi Arabia, plans to offer at least 75 per cent of some airport to foreign investors.

Bahrain’s GIB Capital was the lead financial adviser to General Authority of Civil Aviation (Gaca) in the recently concluded airport PPP deals and the operation and management (O&M) contract for the Jeddah airport.

Washington-based International Finance Corporation advised Gaca on the first full-fledged airport PPP in the kingdom. The $1.2bn Medina airport PPP entered full operations in June 2015.

King Khalid International airport is the kingdom’s second busiest airport. It handled 23.7 million passengers and 354,335 tonnes of cargo in 2016.

The newest of the airport’s five terminals opened in 2016. Terminal 5, which caters to domestic flights, is being operated by Dublin Airport Authority (DAA).

The four older terminals are being upgraded and refurbished. A team comprising Turkey’s IC Ictas and local Al-Rashid Trading & Contracting won a four-year contract to redevelop the four terminals earlier this year.

The renovation works started with Terminal 4, which is unused.

A sixth terminal is to be developed using a public-private partnership (PPP) model once the redevelopment work on the first four terminals has progressed.

It is understood that the airport received bids on 3 July for the second cargo handling contract at the airport.