The Washington-based World Bank has asked consultants to submit expressions of interest in two deals covering site surveys for the proposed Medina airport expansion by 13 March.

The first deal covers a topographical study. The winning consultant will gather data on the natural and man-made features of the site. The contract may be awarded in early April, says one source close to the project.

The World Bank, which is financing the study, has also asked consultants to submit expressions of interest in a deal for preliminary geotechnical studies of the site by 13 March. This study covers research into the types of rock and soil at the site and will help plan earthworks and foundations for the expansion.

Saudi Arabia’s General Authority of Civil Aviation is expected to invite expressions of interest for the public-private partnership deal to build and operate the Medina airport expansion by mid-March (MEED 2:2:10).

The authority plans to revamp the airport to increase its passenger handling capacity to 14 million people a year. The airport currently handles about 3.5 million passengers a year.

The International Finance Corporation (IFC), part of the World Bank, is acting as transaction adviser on the project.

The new Medina airport is part of a larger programme of airport projects across the Saudi Arabia. The largest airport project is at Jeddah, with other smaller domestic terminals planned for Abha, Bisha, Al-Ihsa’a, Al-Jowf, Al-Qasim, Al-Baha, Wadi Al-Dawaser, Sharorah, Al-Wajeh, Torif, Rafha, Dawadmi, Al-Qaisumah, Hail, Arar and Al-Gurayat.