Lack of funding stalls Baghdad airport expansion

05 January 2011

Iraq requires $5bn-7bn for the expansion of Baghdad International airport

The planned expansion of Baghdad International airport has been delayed until investors come forward willing to fund the project.

In May 2010, Adnan Blebil director general of Iraq’s Civil Aviation Authority said he hoped to start inviting companies to bid for the design contract by the end of the year. Iraq needs between $5bn-7bn for the project to go ahead (MEED 18:5:10).

“We are still waiting for investors,” says Blebil. “There is interest from some people about it, but we are waiting for actual [investment].”

The Iraqi Civil Aviation Authority and the Transport Ministry are currently working on a masterplan for the expansion of Baghdad airport.

The existing airport comprises one runway and three passenger terminals. The new plan will involve the construction of three more passenger terminals and a domestic terminal. Currently, the existing terminals are able to accommodate 7.5 million passengers each year. This will rise to 15 million passengers a year when the expansion is completed in five years.

There is interest from some people about it, but we are waiting for actual [investment]

Adnan Blebil, Iraq’s Civil Aviation Authority

The expansion project will also involve developing a freezone, warehouses, a business park and a cargo village that will include cargo terminals and storage facilities. Once this is complete, the existing cargo terminal will be used for general aviation purposes. The business park will comprise hotels, offices and restaurants and a railway or road link is being considered to connect the airport freezone with the national railway network.

The lack of leadership in the country had been an obstacle to Iraq’s development plans in the past, but with the new government more or less in place, planned projects should now start to progress.

Iraq also began the process of dissolving its national carrier Iraqi Airways in 2010 following a long-running dispute with Kuwait over war reparations from the 1990s (MEED 3:6:10). The dissolution process is expected to take another year before it is finalised.

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