The $500m upgrade of Sebha International airport in Libya will be done on an engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) basis rather than as a build-operate-transfer (BOT) contract, according to a project source.

Tripoli is also delaying the opening date of the modified airport until 2011 because of the revisions to the contract and an increase in the project scope, said the source.

Sebha airport is 600 kilometres south of Tripoli and was originally scheduled to open in the first quarter of 2010.

Turkey’s TAV won the contract at the airport with a local partner, Libyan Consolidated Contractors Company, in 2007. The airport will have capacity for 2 million passengers a year once the work is complete. France’s Aeroports de Paris is the consultant.

The opening of the $1.4bn expansion of Tripoli International airport has also been delayed from 2011 until 2012, because of a number of revisions of that contract.

Libya is currently undertaking $2.5bn worth of major airport expansion projects. This includes Sebha, Tripoli and Benghazi airports.