There are three existing desalination facilities under the PCA’s ownership, although only one is operational. Water supply to the airport, which covers an area of more than 100 square kilometres, is unreliable and the cost of production is high. PCA is planning an expansion of KAIA, and a decision was taken to outsource water supply so the body could concentrate on its core activity of running the airport (MEED 28:10:05).

The Dubai office of Washington-based International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private sector arm of the World Bank, is the lead adviser to the PCA on the project and is assisting it on the structure of the transaction and the tender process. The UK office of Japan’s NipponKoei and France’s Gide Loyrette Nouelhave been brought on board by the IFC to assist on the scheme’s technical and environmental aspects, and the legal aspects respectively.

IFC is also advising PCA on a project to expand the Hajj terminal through private sector participation. The kingdom wants to encourage growth in religious tourism, but is restrained by a lack of space at the terminal. A total of 1.2 million pilgrims passed through the terminal last year, but substandard facilities and overcrowding has led to long processing and waiting times (MEED 3:12:04).