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The GCC’s top airport projects

ANALYSIS, Projects, Airport development projects, GCC aviation markets
Hamad International Airport
Hamad International Airport
Prince Mohammed bin Abdulaziz Airport
Prince Mohammed bin Abdulaziz Airport
Muscat International Airport
Muscat International Airport
King AbdulAziz International Airport
King AbdulAziz International Airport
Abu Dhabi Midfield Terminal Building
Abu Dhabi Midfield Terminal Building
Dubai International Airport – Concourse D
Dubai International Airport – Concourse D
Dubai World Central - Al Maktoum International Airport
Dubai World Central - Al Maktoum International Airport
Kuwait International Airport
Kuwait International Airport
Sharjah Airport
Sharjah Airport
Bahrain International Airport
Bahrain International Airport

To meet the demands of travelers and expanding airlines Gulf states are busy pumping billions of dollars in building new airports or expanding their existing facilities.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) noted that “about $40bn is being invested in airport infrastructure in the Arabian Gulf alone by far-sighted governments”. It forecasts that by the year 2017 the total passenger numbers are expected to rise to 3.91bn.

Kuwait-based Nabila Al Anjari, general manager of Leaders Group Company for Consultancy and Development, notes that in the next five years, GCC states’ investment in airports will amount to $300bn. These include projects in Dubai, Qatar, Abu Dhabi, Bahrain, Muscat and Kuwait, as well as two airports in Iraq and three in Saudi Arabia.

In Leaders Group’s monthly report, Al Anjari added that the GCC currently has 66 civil and military airports including 27 in KSA, 16 in UAE, 11 in Oman, five in Qatar and four in Kuwait.

The UAE leads the way in the value of investment in airport infrastructure, with a combined $18.8bn in construction and expansion plans – $15.9bn of that invested in Dubai alone.

Qatar has invested a massive $15.5bn in its airport in Doha that started receiving passengers on 30 April.

Elsewhere in the GCC, Saudi Arabia is aiming for a combined future capacity of 140mn passengers per year by expanding its three major airports in Damman, Jeddah and Riyadh.

Flights of Fancy

The GCC’s top 10 airport projects, by Daria El Samad

1.Hamad International Airport
Estimated value: $15.5bn
Expected date of completion: 2014

After a series of missed launch dates, Qatar’s new Hamad International Airport (HIA) finally opened its doors on 30 April.

Ten carriers commenced operations out of the new passenger terminal at HIA, with the remaining carriers, including national carrier Qatar Airways, expected to move to the airport by 27 May.

The $15.5bn planned hub for Qatar Airways had missed a series of launch dates, including the end of 2012, 1 April, 2013 and the end of last year.

Due to increased transit growth in Qatar and the region in the past few years, modifications were necessary in order to deliver an airport with a capacity of 30mn on opening day.

In its opening configuration, the terminal has three concourses and 33 contact gates, increasing to five concourses and 65 contact gates, including eight for the Airbus A380 in the final build-out.

The main contractor responsible for delivering this massive airport project is US-based Bechtel.

2.Prince Mohammed bin Abdulaziz Airport
Estimated value: $2.4bn
Expected date of completion: Q1 2015

The first airport to be fully built in the GCC via a public–private partnership (PPP), Prince Mohammed bin Abdulaziz Airport expansion project has been mainly designed to help the region cater for the influx of Hajj and Umrah pilgrims every year, as it will have a capacity to accommodate up to 8mn passengers.

The construction agreement for the airport in Madinah will be built in two phases on a build-operate-transfer (BOT) basis for a 25-year period.

Construction for the $2.4bn airport expansion was awarded to TAV Airports of Turkey, Saudi Oger and Al Rajhi Holding Group.

TAV Construction deputy managing director Cumhur Kaur stated that TAV and Al Arrab JV will complete the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract of Prince Mohammed Bin Abdulaziz International Airport in the first quarter of 2015.

He said that as of April 2014, 76% of the project is completed and the airport will have an additional 8mn passenger capacity upon completion. The project will include a 153,000m² passenger terminal with 32 passenger boarding bridges, 26 auxiliary buildings, two new runways, three parallel taxiways and over 300,000m² of apron.

3.Muscat International Airport
Estimated value: $1.2bn
Expected date of completion: 2014

The new terminal at MIA will have a capacity to handle 12mn passengers annually. Further expansions planned in three subsequent phases will ultimately boost capacity to 24, 36 and 40mn passengers when demand is required. The main contracts have been split into 12 packages, all of which are now awarded. See pages 32 -38 for the site visit report.

4.King AbdulAziz International Airport
Estimated value: $7.24bn
Expected date of completion: 2015

Work on the new King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah is on schedule, with 65% of the project now completed, according to media reports from the Kingdom.

The $7.2bn expansion project will include the world’s tallest air traffic control tower once complete, standing at a height of 135m.

It will increase the airport’s capacity to handle up to 32mn passengers a year through the building of a new 690,000m² terminal. Saudi BinLadin is responsible for delivering the two main phase one contracts, while the civil works contract is being delivered by Almabani General Contractors. A Saudi Oger/Murray & Roberts joint venture is responsible for delivering a new four-lane road tunnel for ground service equipment, which will run underneath the airport’s central runway.

The new terminal will also include an airside hotel and will have a transport hub linking to the new Haramain high-speed railway that will run between Makkah and Madinah via Jeddah.

In May, the governor of Makkah province, Prince Khaled Al-Faisal announced that he expects building work at the airport to finish in 2014, but that the facility wouldn’t actually begin operations until 2015.

5.Abu Dhabi Midfield Terminal Building
Estimated value: $2.9bn
Expected date of completion: 2017

Reaching 700,000m² in area, the Abu Dhabi Midfield Terminal will be about one-and-a-half times bigger than Terminal 3 at Dubai International Airport and also Heathrow Airport’s Terminal 5.

Construction of the $2.9bn (AED10.8bn) terminal reached a major milestone in February, when senior executives said the first steel arch of the Midfield Terminal Building (MTB) had been completed, marking the launch of the roof structure phase. The first arch is one of 18 that will make up the steel primary structure for the MTB roof.

By the end of 2014, all 18 arches will be completed and assembled.

The terminal, which will be operational in July 2017, aims to double passenger capacity to 30mn passengers per year. It will be used by Etihad Airways, the Emirate’s flagship carrier, and its partners.

6.Dubai International Airport – Concourse D
Estimated value: $816mn
Expected date of completion: 2015

Work on Dubai International’s two runways started on 1 May, 2014. The runways will undergo a phased refurbishment and upgrading until the end of July. Priorities include the construction of an end-around taxiway on the airport’s northern runway as well as several rapid exit taxiways, which will in turn allow aircraft to spend less time on the active runway and ultimately enhance runway throughput.

Construction of Concourse D, which will house 20 departure gates and retail and F&B facilities, will be linked to the refurbished Terminal 1 via an elevated rail link when completed in 2015.

“The construction is now well underway and we expect to see completion of the elevated rail link by around the end of the first quarter of 2014,” said Omair Imran, terminal development manager responsible for Concourse D.

The construction of Concourse D reached a major milestone with the opening of a new combined maintenance facility in April, according to Dubai Airports. The existing combined maintenance facility will be demolished to make way for new aircraft stands and apron.

The full $7.8bn (AED28.8bn) airport and airspace expansion program will boost capacity at Dubai International from 60mn to 90mn passengers per year by 2018.

7.Dubai World Central - Al Maktoum International Airport
Estimated value: $8.1bn
Expected date of completion: ongoing

Eight airlines diverted from Dubai International Airport to the Al Maktoum International Airport on 1 May as the former underwent refurbishment work.

The first phase of the Dubai World Central Al Maktoum International Airport is completed and fully operational. The airport currently has the capacity to handle 600,000 tonnes of cargo per annum and operates 24 hours a day on an A380-compatible, 4.5 km runway. Its passenger terminal also opened to the first airlines last September. Phase two of the airport, which includes the construction of an additional two automated and non-automated cargo terminals, is currently underway. This is expected to increase the total cargo capacity of the airport to 1.4mn tonnes per annum.

The airport, once completed, will have the capacity to handle 12mn tonnes of annual cargo capacity and 160mn passengers. Costs for the entire DWC development, including all clusters, has been estimated at more than $32bn.

8.Kuwait International Airport
Estimated value: $6bn
Expected date of completion: 2020

The expansion at Kuwait International Airport, which is located in Farwaniyah, 16km south of Kuwait City, is expected to expand capacity from 6mn passengers a year to 20mn. Plans include a new $3bn terminal as well as an additional $3bn to be spent on widening runways, a new control tower and establishing a cargo facility. The terminal will span a 5.4km-long runway.

Bids for the terminal main contract are currently being evaluated.

9.Sharjah Airport

In January, Bechtel was selected by Sharjah Airport Authority to provide masterplanning services for the phased expansion of Sharjah International Airport in the UAE. The company will conduct short-term and long-term analysis of the airport’s future needs.

Following this study, which is expected to last around eight months, the authorities will then decide on which projects would need to be undertaken as per their priority.

In 2013, the airport served 8.5mn passengers, a figure predicted to rise to more than 15mn over the next 20 years.

10. Bahrain International Airport
Estimated value: $980mn
Expected date of completion: 2018

Bahrain International Airport is set for an expansion that will boost capacity to 13.5mn passengers a year.

Hill International had been awarded a contract to manage works on the airport. The work will involve a redevelopment of the airport to raise capacity. The cost of the upgrade has been estimated at around $980m and once complete will boost capacity to 13.5m passengers a year.

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