Oman signed a $345 deal Wednesday October 17 with a consortium led by the British Airport Authority (BAA) to develop and manage the sultanate's two main airports, which are in the process of being privatized, the official ONA news agency reported.
The consortium, which also includes ABB Equity Ventures and the Omani Bahwan Trading Co., last month, won preferred bidder status for developing and managing Seeb international airport in Muscat province and Salalah airport, some 1,000 kilometers (450 miles) south of the capital.
The agreement was signed by BAA's international director, Terry Morgan, and Oman's ministers of economy and transport, Ahmad bin Abdul Nabi Meki and Malek Bin Suleiman al-Maamari. Maamari said in September that the consortium would keep 75 percent of the newly created firm's capital, with the government taking 20 percent and Oman Aviation Services Co. the balance.
The firm will have a management concession for 25 years, from January 1, 2002. BAA, the world's largest airport specialist firm, manages seven airports in Britain and 12 others across the world. Oman is the first Gulf country moving toward privatizing its airports. Civil aviation officials there say privatization is crucial to upgrade and expand Seeb airport, in particular, to improve facilities and raise capacity to six million passengers by 2010 and 10 million by 2020. — (AFP, Muscat)
© Agence France Presse 2001
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )