Kuwait’s Al-Nasriyah al-Kuwaitiah is still negotiating the final details of the contract with an unnamed Chinese contractor, which will build the planned $500m airport and cargo terminal at Diwaniya governorate in central Iraq.

The contract was expected to be awarded in late 2016, with construction expected to begin shortly after, but teh contract award has been delayed for several months.

Naser Mohammed al-Naser, consultant and deputy general manager of Al-Nasriyah al-Kuwaitiah, told MEED he expects a final contract to be signed “within weeks.”

The package comprises the first phase of a $1.35bn project to build and operate a new cargo airport and city in Iraq. The construction period for the cargo terminal and runway is expected to take 26 months.

The Kuwaiti company won the 45-year concession for the project in early 2015.

It signed a $65m contract with Dubai-headquartered Eyles AMG for the airport’s design and consultancy package in early 2016.

Al-Naser said they expect to appoint contractors for the airport operations and maintenance package, baggage-handling systems, technology and security systems, among other packages, between 2017 and 2018.

Another airport project in central Iraq, the Karbala International airport, is planned. UK-based Copperchase has received prequalification applications from 28 local and international contractors for the contract to build an airport terminal and an air traffic control (ATC) tower at Karbala International airport.the company said it expects to complete the prequalification phase this month.