The $500m upgrade of Sebha International airport will not be finished this year as planned because of changes to the build-operate-transfer contract.

The revamped airport, 600 kilometres south of Tripoli, was originally scheduled to open during the first quarter. However, the work is now expected to continue into 2011.

“Sebha Airport project is under revisions for contract type and scope increase at the moment, therefore it would not be possible to deliver the project within this year,” says a source involved with the project.

Turkey’s TAV won the contract for the construction of Sebha airport with a local partner, Libyan Consolidated Contractors Company, in 2007. The airport will have capacity for 2 million passengers a year once complete. France’s Aeroports de Paris is the consultant on the project.

Libya currently has three major airport expansion projects under way including Sebha, Tripoli International airport and Benghazi airport, with a total value of $2.5bn. The work at Tripoli airport is also experiencing delays due to contract revisions (MEED 17:2:10).