Saudi Arabia’s General Authority of Civil Aviation (Gaca) has invited firms to submit bids for the second cargo handling contract at the King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh.

Airport operators have until 1 June to submit proposals for the contract.

The tender is open to foreign joint stock companies and all international air cargo handling companies.

The appointment of a second air cargo operator at the kingdom’s busiest airport is in line with the broad plan to privatise the kingdom’s airport services and improve their operational efficiency

Saudi Arabia has also indicated it is aiming to be among the world’s top 25 in the annual Logistics Performance Index (LPI) by 2030. The kingdom ranked 52nd in the 2016 index.

Future plans for the Riyadh airport include the construction of a cargo village that will provide “world class” logistics services.

The airport processed 354,335 tonnes of cargo in 2016, an increase of 8 per cent over the previous year. It processed 23.7 million passengers in 2016, up from 22.5 million in the previous year.

Terminal 1 and 2 at the Riyadh airport cater to international flights, while Terminal 3 caters to domestic flights. Terminal 4 is unused and Terminal 5 was completed in 2015 and began soft operations in June 2016.

The Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) operates and manages Terminal 5. The rest of the terminals are being operated by the Riyadh Airport Company (RAC), a subsidiary of Gaca.

The contract for the upgrade of Terminal 3 and Terminal 4 are understood to be still on hold.

A sixth terminal is to be developed using a public-private partnership (PPP) model once the redevelopment work on the first four terminals has progressed.