Two groups submitted an offer for the contract to develop the airport
Saudi Arabias General Authority of Civil Aviation (Gaca) aims to award the contract to develop the Taif International airport within weeks.
According to sources familiar with the transaction, Gaca intends to fast-track the award of the contract.
It is understood two groups submitted an offer for the contract to design, finance, build and operate Taif International airport last week.
The airport public-private partnership (PPP) scheme reached the prequalification stage in 2016 before it was put on hold. The Washington-based International Finance Corporation (IFC) is no longer advising on the scheme.
If successfully implemented, the Taif International airport will be the third airport PPP in the kingdom. A contract was recently signed between a joint venture of Turkeys TAV and local Al-Rajhi Group and Gaca to build and operate a new terminal at Yanbu airport for 30 years.
The kingdoms first airport PPP, Prince Mohammed bin Abdulaziz International in Medina, is operating on a BTO basis and entered full operations in June 2015. It is operated by Tibah, a special purpose vehicle formed between Turkeys TAV and local contracting firms Saudi Oger and Al-Rajhi. The $1.2bn project was financed by Saudi Arabias National Commercial Bank (NCB), Sabb and Arab National Bank under the supervision of the IFC.
Taif International will be located northeast of Taif Province near Souk Okaz, which is about 120 kilometres from Mecca. It will have a design capacity for up to five million passengers annually and will eventually reach eight million passengers in future.
The airport will initially include one runway extending 4,300 metres, with a provision for a second runway if required.
When completed, it will be the third international airport catering to hajj and umrah visitors in addition to the King Abdulaziz International airport in Jeddah, the countrys busiest, and Prince Mohammed bin Abdulaziz International in Medina. The Medina airport was the kingdoms first airport PPP.
The kingdom expects annual pilgrims to reach 30 million annually by 2030.
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