Saudi Arabia’s General Authority for Civil Aviation (Gaca) has cancelled the bid for the contract to operate and maintain (O&M) the King Abdulaziz International airport (KAIA) in Jeddah.

Two firms, one comprising a joint venture of France’s Aeroports de Paris Managements (ADPM) and Saudi Binladin Group, and Singapore’s Changi Airports International, submitted an offer for the contract on 20 July.

“The bid was cancelled in late July,” a source familiar with the transaction tells MEED.

Appointing a private airport operator for KAIA would have been consistent with Gaca’s plan to privatise all of the kingdom’s airports by 2020.

It is not clear why Gaca cancelled the bid or if a new tender will be released soon.

Two other firms that were expected to submit an offer for the contract did not participate in the tender. They are Malaysia Airport Holding Berhad and Germany’s Fraport, the formed O&M contract holder.

KAIA is Saudi Arabia’s largest airport in terms of passenger traffic; it handled 30.1 million passengers in 2015, a 7.4 per cent rise compared with the previous year.

The masterplan for KAIA envisages increasing its capacity to up to 43 million passengers a year by 2025 and 80 million passengers annually by 2035.

Ongoing expansion work at the airport is expected to be completed by 2017.