The US’ Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM)has been selected to draw up a new masterplan, which will determine the project’s scope, cost and design. SOM’s first task will be to prepare an initial masterplan, which is due to be completed in early 2005. The UK’s Halcrowhas also been picked as the design and construction supervision consultant for the new aprons to be built on the development.

A project manager is expected to be selected soon, after revised bids were submitted in late November for the contract. The bidders include Turner Construction International, Parsons Internationaland Bechtel, all of the US, and Australia’s Bovis Lend Lease.

The steering committee was established in the summer after the government decided to amend the original plans for the expansion of the airport to accommodate the needs of recently-established Abu Dhabi-based carrier Etihad Airways. Aeroports de Parisprepared the project’s original designs.

Abu Dhabi-based Royal Jet is also close to appointing a consultant for an estimated AED 150 million ($40.9 million) project to build a new terminal for its executive jet services. Four unidentified international firms have been shortlisted for the design contract, which will take about nine months to complete. The new facility, known as a fixed-based option, will comprise six VIP lounges, an aircraft hangar and an HQ.