GACA serves Madina airport staff TAV job ultimatum
Employees face tough decision on account of $1.5bn airport expansion
The General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) has given its employees at Prince Muhammad International Airport in Madina 30 days to decide whether they want to transfer their contracts to the Turkish TAV or seek a secondment under GACA for a period of three years, according to Al Watan.
The benefit of the secondment option is that it protects the rights of employees to apply for a transfer to any other airport in Saudi Arabia, as they are all operated by GACA. However, if they do not transfer their contract within that period, there is no guarantee that their contracts will be renewed.
“Airports are not infrastructure providers anymore; they are commercial businesses,” said Dr Mustafa Sani Sener, president and CEO for TAV Group, which won the build, transfer, operate (BTO) contract in October 2011.
The 196 employees subject to the initiative have attempted to take the matter to court, claiming that the way in which 32 GACA employees retained their positions, but 196 employees were given different options was unjust. A committee was formed to find and amicable solution, but failed to do so.
GACA announced this third and final initiative in order to solve the crisis that erupted following its implementation of the first PPP scheme for the running of an airport in the kingdom.
“Phase one of the expansion involves construction of a new terminal building, extension of the runway, apron and taxi-way systems,” said Yusuf Akcayoglu, regional director at TAV Construction.
The $1.5bn bid for the contract was submitted by TAV in a consortium with partners Saudi Oger and Al Rajhi Holdings, and announced as the preferred bid in August 2011.
The consortium will operate the airport for 25 years. Phase one will increase the capacity of Madinah Airport to 8m passengers per year from its current of 3.3m. Phase two will eventually increase passenger capacity to 16m.
The expansion of Madinah airport is part of the kingdom's wider plan to develop more than $10.5bn worth of airport projects across the kingdom in order to boost overall passenger capacity.