Egypt sets out to become regional air transit center
The Egyptian Minister of Transport Ibrahim Al-Damairy recently announced that a comprehensive new civil aviation development plan has been submitted by his ministry to President Husni Mubarak, in a bid to build Egypt’s stand as a major air transit center, serving the entire Middle East and North African region.
Plans have been drafted for increasing the number of Egypt’s operating airports to 41 airports and expanding its existing 26 airports by the year 2020. Private sector involvement in building and expanding the country’s air service capacity is a considered central element in the scheme.
Recent reports reveal that 12 international groups have submitted bids to expand the Cairo International Airport at the cost of $150 million. The contract, to be based on the Build, Operate and Transfer (BOT) system, will reportedly be awarded within three months, according to KsaToday daily.
The Egyptian Civil Aviation Authority is presently evaluating the bids of several international groups from the United States, France, Belgium, Spain, Turkey Germany, and Egypt. Earlier this month, the authority published an additional tender to expand the Borj Al-Arab airport, second in size only to Cairo’s airport.
Minister Al-Damairy said that development works on the Luxor International Airport will begin by late September, and is expected to reach completion within 18 month. In the meantime, a temporary facility has been constructed to function as a passenger terminal, reported Al-Ahram.
Egypt announced last year that it will to invest two billion dollars in upgrading its airports and began issuing 40 to 50 year BOT contracts to this extent. Under these agreements, construction and operation of an airport, albeit without ownership rights, is to be undertaken by a private firm. Revamped facilities would later be transferred back to Egyptian authorities management. — (Mena Report)
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