The government of Yemen has invited contractors to bid for a contract to expand the Mukalla International airport. The airport will support the growth of Mukalla’s port and forms part of a World Bank-funded project to improve Yemen’s major ports.

The works package contract includes the expansion of the passenger terminal building, packing and landscape improvements, runway lights upgrading, replacement of equipment in the control regulator stations and additional transformer equipment. The construction period is for 16 months and the bid deadline is set for 29 December.

The tender follows the release of a consultancy services tender last month to supervise the construction of the airport facilities. The deadline for bids for that contract was set for 15 October.

The expansion marks the second phase of Yemen’s Ports Cities Development, with the government of Yemen receiving a grant from the World Bank, which will partly be used to finance the contracts for the airport expansion.

Phase 1 of the Ports Cities development programme began in 2003 and finished in 2010. The aim of the programme is to boost Yemen’s economy through investing in the country’s major port cities of Aden, Hodeidah and Mukalla.

The first phase of the programme focused on Aden, transforming its seafront fish market and tripling the number of fishing boats docking at the market between 2003 and 2009. Investments were also made into the upgrading of a small-scale industrial area and an inner city road. The World Bank contributed $23.4m to the first phase.

The World Bank has launched a new strategy for Yemen as the country begins to draft a new constitution and organises elections over the course of the next 18 months.

The bank currently managed 19 projects in Yemen with a total commitment of $700m and has pledged to add a further $400m over the next two years.

The World Bank will be looking to improve conditions for the growth of the private sector, and will be working closely with the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the bank’s private sector arm, to find ways of engaging the private sector, including the use of Public-Private Partnership (PPP) financing.

Political unrest in Yemen brought an end to the 33-year reign of the former president Ali Abdullah Saleh last year. In November 2011, a government of national reconciliation was formed and president Abd Rabbuh Mansur al-Hadi was confirmed as interim president. He is charged with overseeing a two-year transition period.