EBRD seeks consultant on Jordan's airport PPPs

The development bank is exploring ways to assist Jordan as the country gets ready to tender its first airport PPP worth $315m.

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) will explore ways in which it can assist Jordan’s Ministry of Transport as it prepares to tender three airport projects under one or more public-private partnership (PPP) contracts.

In response to the Jordanian government’s request for support from the EBRD, the development bank is looking to hire a consultant who will assess the merits of bundling two or all three of the projects into one contract; prepare a preliminary economic assessment of the preferred alternative; and prepare an estimate of the capital expenditure required for the three airports, according to a notice posted on the EBRD website inviting expressions of interest from consulting firms.

The North Shouneh Airport is the most expensive of the three projects as it is a new-build and is estimated to cost $170 million. The airport is intended to serve as a hub mainly for exporting agricultural products from the Jordan Valley, but will also handle passenger traffic, according to EBRD.

Next on the list is the upgrade of Amman Civil Airport. Estimated to cost $60 million, the project includes the rehabilitation of runways and aprons, development of new facilities, additional parking and the upgrade of communication infrastructure and electronic systems.

The redevelopment of King Hussein Airport in Aqaba would be realized in two phases. The first phase, which has an estimated price tag of $28 million would improve the runway, expand the departures terminal and build a new arrivals hall. Phase II, estimated to cost $57 million, involves constructing a new air traffic control tower as well as civil defense, administrative buildings and security services.

While Jordan has had a general privatization law in place since 2000 as well as some sector-specific laws that have allowed the country to move forward with infrastructure investment through PPPs, it has done so on a limited scale and mostly in the renewable energy sector.

In 2013, the Jordanian government sought the help of the Public-Private Infrastructure Advisory Facility (PPIAF), a multi-donor trust fund and member of the World Bank Group that provides technical assistance to developing countries with respect to facilitating private investment in infrastructure. Since then, the PPIAF has helped Jordan improve the institutional and policy environment for PPPs, drafting a new PPP policy and providing funding for the creation of a PPP unit within the country’s finance ministry. Jordan also passed a new law last November that sought to address legal ambiguities in existing laws and regulations, such as authority of private developers to collect government fees and step-in rights for lenders, according to a PPIAF document.