The feasibility study for Line 6 of the Cairo Metro is under way and will likely exceed its agreed six-month timeframe, Sameh Refaat, vice-chairman at Egypt’s National Authority for Tunnels (NAT), tells MEED.

NAT signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with China’s CRRC Corporation on 31 December 2015 for the study, which will lead to the construction of Line 6.

According to Refaat, the feasibility study will identify the preferred procurement model, budget and details of the funding scheme. He adds that Line 6 is likely to be procured using a build-operate-transfer (BOT) model.

“If the conditions are agreeable to the ECA [Egyptian Competition Authority] Law, then we will proceed with the project…. Funding is likely to be provided either by Export-Import Bank of China or China Development Bank,” says Refaat.

He says that although the feasibility study could extend beyond June, it is still possible for a final agreement for the construction of Line 6 to be signed before the end of 2016.

The railway will extend 30 kilometres from the El-Khosous area at Exit 18 in the far north of Cairo to the New Maadi area in the south. It will have intersections with lines 1 and 4. Of the total length, 10km will be elevated, with the remainder underground. Of its 24 stations, 20 will be underground.

Construction of Line 6 is expected to cost between $2.5bn-$3.5bn, although Refaat says the final budget will be determined based on the feasibility study.

Line 6 is now at a more advanced stage compared with Line 5, which will run for 24km from El-Wafaa Wel Amal in Nasr City to the El-Sahel area. ”We are in very early stages of discussions with the Koreans [for Line 5],” Refaat tells MEED. It is understood these discussions are being held with South Korea’s Hyundai Rotem.

In December, Egypt’s Ministry of International Cooperation and European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) signed an agreement for European Development Bank to provide €100m ($112.6m) of finance for the acquisition of 13 train sets for the Cairo Metro’s Line 2.