Jordan expects to start the tender process for the expansion of King Hussein International Airport in Aqaba by the end of July, according to a source close to the project.

The expansion will double capacity to about two million passengers a year. The airport currently has an annual capacity of one million passengers.

Aqaba is located on Jordan’s Red Sea coast and is a popular tourist destination. The airport is being expanded to cater to the volume of tourists that visit the area each year.

Jordan also has a long-term plan to build a cargo airport at the same site.

The country is currently carrying out the first phase of the $750m expansion of Queen Alia International Airport in Jordan, which will be completed in the first quarter of 2012.

The first phase will increase passenger capacity to nine million each year. In 2009, Queen Alia International handled 4.7m passengers, which represented a 6.5 per cent increase on figures in 2008 (MEED 10:2:10).

The first phase involves the construction of a second passenger terminal that will be 100,000 square metres when complete.

A later phase two will see capacity increase further to 12 million passengers a year, according to Curtis Grad, chief executive officer of Jordan’s Airport International Group, which is part of the consortium carrying out the Queen Alia airport expansion.

Phase two will be carried out depending on demand.

AIG won the build, operate, transfer (BOT) contract in 2007.

Jordan needs the extra capacity as the airport added seven new routes and eight increased frequencies to certain destinations in the first quarter of 2010 alone.

Jordan’s agreement with the European Union (EU) that it signed in April will come into effect in June 2010. Under the deal, carriers in Jordan and the EU will be able to fly into airports in both regions without facing price or capacity restrictions.

The only other Middle East country that has such an agreement is Morocco.