TAV frontrunner for $1.5bn Medina Airport PPP

A consortium led by the Turkish airports operator has been named preferred bidder to more than double passenger capacity at Saudi Arabia’s Medina International Airport. The build-operate-transfer contract will last for 25 years.

A consortium spearheaded by Turkish airports operator TAV Airports has been name the preferred bidder to develop, expand, rehabilitate and operate Medina International Airport, in Saudi Arabia, via a public-private partnership (PPP), the company disclosed in a regulatory filing yesterday.

The 25-year, build-operate-transfer contract requires the consortium – which also includes local companies Al Rajhi and Saudi Oger – to double the airport’s current four million passenger capacity to eight million passengers a year, TAV said in a statement. In addition, the contract calls for the construction of a new passenger terminal and is estimated to be worth between $1 billion and $1.5 billion.

Bidding for Medina International Airport attracted strong interest from the industry, with eight consortia originally pre-qualified for the project. In the end, media sources indicate that, in addition to the TAV-led consortium, four other teams submitted bids for the airport PPP. 

Saudi Arabia’s General Directorate of Civil Aviation (GACA), the procuring authority, says on its website that Medina International Airport has benefited from “strong religious-driven traffic growth”, with passenger numbers increasing by an average of 21 percent over the last five years. The procuring authority says it wants the airport to handle eight million passengers by the end of 2014 and 14 million passengers by 2020.

Medina, located in western Saudi Arabia, is known as the second holiest city in Islam, after Mecca, and is the burial place of the Islamic Prophet Muhammad. The city also harbours the three oldest mosques in Islam.

The International Finance Corporation has acted as GACA’s lead advisor on the tender, the procuring authority said on its website.