The centrepiece of the Dh25 billion (US$6.8bn) upgrade at the Abu Dhabi International Airport is a step closer after a call for expressions of interest from contractors. Builders have until February 1 to lodge their bids for the general contract at Abu Dhabi's Midfield Terminal, the cornerstone of the capital's aviation and tourism growth strategy. The Supervision Committee for the Expansion of Abu Dhabi International Airport (SCADIA) yesterday asked for detailed applications and a Dh50,000 cashier's cheque from interested bidders.
The Midfield Terminal is designed in the shape of the letter "X" by Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates of London. The project is running four years late, being originally expected to open next year. The first phase is now scheduled to open in the first quarter of 2015. Officials have said plans were delayed due to the time needed to bring together all of the stakeholders, from immigration, customs, police and the transport departments, and because Etihad Airways's new fleet orders meant changes to the design.
In September last year, a spokesman for the Abu Dhabi Airports Company (ADAC) said the firm had stopped issuing completion dates for the terminal. "Our official position on this is Abu Dhabi Airports Company's planned Midfield Terminal complex is expected to be open within the coming few years," the ADAC spokesman said at the time. The new terminal will have a built-up area of 630,000 square metres and will initially serve more than 20 million passengers a year, or roughly triple the capacity at the airport's existing three terminals.
The project includes the construction of a multi-storey car park, landscaping and air-side developments. SCADIA said bidders should have a turnover of more than $5bn a year, and have successfully completed five projects of a similar nature in the past decade, two of which must be worth more than $1bn. They must also be able to demonstrate that they can perform the work in Abu Dhabi, show evidence of financial strength, and have a proven ability to work under best practices of sustainability.
At the site, earthworks and piling are already under way, while a new 110-metre tall air traffic control tower is expected to be completed within months. Abu Dhabi's airport, which is served by more than 40 international carriers, was the fastest-growing airport in the world in 2008, according to Airports Council International, led by the rise of Etihad. To cope with this growth, SCADIA and ADAC, which manages the airport, opened the Dh1bn Terminal 3 for the exclusive use of Etihad last year.
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