Netherlands Airport Consultants (NACO)has prepared designs for the expansion according to a $24 million contract awarded in November 2000. The ministry has approved the final designs, but is understood to be considering the additional upgrade of two runways before inviting bids for the construction contract. Work on the expansion is expected to start in the middle of 2002 and to last four years. The airport, which was originally built by Germany’s Hochtief, is Saudi Arabia’s busiest, handling more than 16 million passengers a year and about 150,000 tonnes of air cargo. The south terminal expansion will push capacity up to 21 million passengers a year (MEED 10:11:00).