A close contest is in store for the first construction package on the expansion of King Abdulaziz International Airport (KAIA) in Jeddah.

South Korea’s Samwhan Corporation has submitted a low bid of SR 916.5 million ($244.4 million), according to pricesannounced officially on 3 December by the client, the Presidency of Civil Aviation (PCA). The Korean firm’s offer was about 0.4 per cent lower than the next quote of SR 919.9 million ($245.3 million) offered by the local Almabani General Contractors. Five groups of local and international companies have submitted base prices and an alternative quotation (MEED 25:11:05).

Called the airport facilities upgrade, the design and build contract involves upgrades to the airfield pavement and lighting, fuel network systems and the stormwater drainage network. The 16-month contract also includes upgrading the airfield facilities for the existing Hajj terminal, for which a separate expansion and rehabilitation is also planned. PCA has invited companies to apply for prequalifications by 17 December for the build-operate-transfer (BOT) concession covering the proposed expansion (see Tenders).

A total of 1.2 million pilgrims used the terminal last year, but substandard facilities and overcrowding has led to long processing and waiting times.

The BOT model is also being used for the contract to supply and install a 30,000-cubic-metre-a-day desalination plant to serve the KAIA expansion project. A tender for the concession is due to be issued by the end of the first quarter of 2006 for the concession. Washington-based International FinanceCorporation, the private sector lending arm of the World Bank, is advising the PCA on both BOT concessions.

The overall KAIA expansion involves the construction of a new terminal and support services building, modifications to the existing South and North terminals and upgrades to the existing runway and airfield systems to accommodate A380s from Europe’s Airbus. NACO of the Netherlands has recently completed a review of the original airport masterplan.

A tender is also due to be issued soon for the five-year programme and construction management services contract, for which about six groups of companies applied for prequalifications in mid-summer.

The groupsare understood to include: the US’ Bechtel, with the local Dar al-Riyadh; Beirut-based Dar al-Handasah (Shair & Partners); Turner Construction International; Parsons Brinckerhoff; Louis Berger, with Hill International; and Fluor Corporation, all US-based.