Thursday, July 16, 2009

Oman awards airport contracts

Oman’s transport ministry announced it has awarded more than US$1.5 billion (Dh5.5bn) in airport infrastructure contracts to companies from Turkey, France, Germany and the US.

More contracts are expected this year. Oman is expanding Muscat and Salalah international airports and developing four new regional airports in a multibillion-dollar project to stimulate trade and tourism.

The country’s flag-carrier, Oman Air, is also growing and in 2007 announced a deal to buy five new Airbus wide-bodied A330s, scheduled for delivery within the next two years.

Most of the deals announced this week involved construction work, but smaller contracts included a radar system, a new meteorological station and two camel racecourses. TAV Insaat of Turkey and an international consortium called Consolidated Contractors Company of Oman formed a partnership for the largest contract award, for works at Muscat International Airport worth 450 million rials (Dh4.29bn).

Also at Muscat airport, Boskalis Westminster, based in The Netherlands, received an 18.2m rial deal for dredging works and soil reclamation. The German construction firm Strabag was awarded a contract through its local subsidiary to build Sohar Airport, in the Al Batinah region, in a deal worth 37.5m rials.

The airport will cater for up to 50,000 passengers in the first phase and up to 500,000 passengers in later phases. It will be situated close to the country’s newest industrial zone, where a reported $12bn has been invested in a new port, free zone and pipeline network.

Sohar and the other domestic airports will include runways measuring 4km long and 75 metres wide.

Abdul Rahim al Harami, the director general of air navigation at the ministry of transport, said the construction works for Muscat airport and the smaller centres should be finished by 2012, according to local media reports.

The airports are all expected to begin operations at the start of 2013.
The smaller airports are expected to draw tourists from Europe, the UAE and elsewhere into the country’s undeveloped hinterland.

Last year, the sultanate received 650,000 tourists, including many on chartered tours from Europe, and it has outlined broad goals to greatly increase that number in coming years.

Another of the smaller airports will be in Adam, south-west of Muscat, to be built by Strabag in a deal worth 3.6m rials. An international consortium called Desert Line Projects was chosen in a 23.4m rial deal to build Al Duqm Airport in the Al Wusta region.

Al Duqm Airport, which will be the country’s third international airport, carries an estimated cost of between $100m and $200m. Oman is to inject vast sums of money into the Duqm region, with new hotels, resorts and public beaches planned.

The region will also one day be home to a large industrial and free-trade zone that will house a refinery, petrochemical complex, fisheries facilities and port complex.Other winners this week included US-based Raytheon for a contract worth 4.9m rials to design, supply and operate a radar system at Muscat airport.

ADPI of France will act as the project manager for the construction of the regional airports, while the Danish firm COWI was previously hired to serve as project engineer, in collaboration with Larsen Architects. Local media also reported the Omani government signed a deal with a firm called the European Organisation for Satellite Investment to jointly develop the country’s meteorology services.

Further announcements were expected to include contracts for the planned regional airport at the coastal city of Ras al Hadd, several hundred kilometres south of Muscat.
Mr al Harami added that the Muscat deals included work to build a network of roads into and inside the airport.
Last Updated: June 24. 2009 7:51PM UAE / June 24. 2009 3:51PM GMT

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