A local/US joint venture (JV) of Sahel al-Jazera Group (SAG) and World Strategic Initiatives Group (WSI) has signed an agreement to renovate and expand the existing airport at Najaf.

The deal comes almost a year after the Transport Ministry issued tenders to build a new greenfield airport in Najaf with capacity of about 2.5 million passengers a year (MEED 23:9:05).

Under the 10-year build-operate-transfer (BOT) programme, the JV will invest about $300 million in two phases. The first phase will comprise the transformation of Najaf’s existing military airport at Al-Hamza into a passenger airport. The scope of works includes completing the existing 3,400-metre runway and building a temporary terminal and associated facilities. The Najaf governorate had originally awarded the contract last summer to the local Fahd Albasra, but the company failed to complete the work. The renovation is due to be finished within 75 days.

The second phase, to be carried out over three years, centres on the development of a greenfield airport. The scope of works includes construction of a 4-kilometre concrete runway with a width of 60 metres, a concrete taxiway with a width of 45 metres, an apron for at least 10 aircraft, a two-storey terminal with six passenger bridges, an air traffic control tower, various administrative buildings, a hotel, aircraft hangers and infrastructure work. The contract will also entail the supply and installation of all electrical, mechanical and security systems. Headed by a former US State Department official, WSI will oversee the construction and security, while SAG will be the main contractor on the project.