The Iraqi Civil Aviation Board has handed over the land for the new $140m Salahaddin International Airport to the project’s US-based contractor Leedco Engineers.

Construction on the new airport is scheduled to start soon as the design is almost complete.

Leedco is designing and planning the new airport and has also invested the money to fund the project (MEED 10:3:10).

Once the design is complete, the firm will then carry out the construction work.

The new airport will be able to accommodate about two million passengers every year. Construction work will comprise one runway and one taxiway.

Work is expected to take two years to complete with the project likely to open in 2012.

Iraq’s Salahaddin Investment Commission, part of the government’s National Investment Commission (NIC), is the client on the project.

Salahaddin province is located in northern Iraq and the capital is Tikrit, which is about 140km northwest of the Baghdad.

The airport is predicted to attract visitors to the large number of tourist and pilgrimage sites that are located in the province.

The new airport will also support the Baghdad airport in the case of air traffic emergencies.