• Original deadline was set for 9 July
  • New Taif airport to replace existing domestic airport
  • International Finance Corporation is project lead adviser

Saudi Arabia’s General Authority of Civil Aviation (Gaca) is close to announcing the list of prequalified companies to bid for Taif International airport, the second airport in the kingdom to be developed using a public-private partnership (PPP) model.

The deadline for prequalification submissions has been moved to 26 August from 9 July. The list of prequalified companies is expected to be announced by the end of August.

The prequalified companies will comprise private investors that will finance, design, build and operate the new Taif international airport in Mecca. The planned airport will replace the existing domestic airport. Its expansion had been planned since 2008, but was put on hold.

MEED earlier reported that the chosen partner for the PPP project will operate and maintain the existing domestic airport until the completion of the new international airport. The Washington-based World Bank’s International Finance Corporation (IFC) has been appointed as lead adviser to assist the structuring and implementation of the project.

The new airport is part of the capacity-building initiative in Mecca, which hosts the annual hajj pilgrimage as well as umrah, which can be performed at any time of year.

The planned Taif airport will complement Mecca’s King Abdulaziz International airport, which has been undergoing an $8.2bn expansion to eventually handle up to 80 million passengers a year.

The first airport project delivered on a PPP model in Saudi Arabia became fully operational in June. The $1.2bn Prince Mohammad Abdulaziz airport in Medina was completed on time by Tibah, which comprises Turkey’s TAV Airports and local contracting firms Saudi Oger and Al-Rajhi Holdings.

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