The Oman Transport & Communications Ministry has awarded US-based Hill International a RO41.8m ($108.5m) contract to oversee the development of Muscat International and Salalah airports.

Hill will replace a team of Denmark’s Cowi and the local Larsen Architects & Consulting Engineers that will stop managing the project at the end of this year. The joint venture was selected to oversee the development in early 2005.

The other two bidders for the contract were US-based Aecom and Lebanon’s Dar al-Handasah (Shair & Partners).

Construction work on the larger of the two airports, Muscat International, is progressing. In mid-October, the Public Authority of Civil Aviation said it expects the first major construction projects at the airport to be completed before the end of 2013.

The project to expand Muscat International will initially expand the airport’s capacity to 12 million passengers annually. Future planned stages of the expansion programme will increase the capacity to 24 million and then 36 million.

In late 2010, Oman’s Transport & Communications Ministry awarded an RO706m ($1.8bn) contract to a consortium of US’ Bechtel, the local Bahwan Engineering and Turkey’s Enka to build the new passenger terminal at the airport. The new building will cover a total area of 300,000 square metres. The terminal is due to open in 2014.