Sunday, August 22, 2010

Marrakech and Fez airports to be enlarged

Back in January, The View from Fez reported on the new terminal to be built at Fez airport (see the story here). But Menara airport in Marrakech will also benefit from and third terminal.

Morocco's aviation authority Office National des Aeroports is now inviting firms to tender for two separate deals to build new terminals at Marrakech International and Fez Saiss airports.

The expansions of the two airports are being planned to help cope with a projected increase in tourism in the country. About 8.3 million foreign passengers passed through Morocco's airports in 2009, a 5% increase from 2008.

The scope of the first deal involves the construction of the new Terminal 3 at Marrakech airport which will be 26,000 square meters. The Office National des Aeroports will finance the construction through a loan from the African Development Bank.

Terminal 3 is part of the wider expansion of the airport, which will more than double the airport's capacity to 10 million passengers a year by 2013 from 4.5 million passengers a year currently. Later work planned for the development includes an expansion of existing passenger terminals and extending the berths to accommodate Airbus A380 planes. Progress on the project has been delayed due to the appointment of a new managing director, Dalil Guendouz, earlier this year.

The second deal involves the construction of a 26,000 square meter terminal at Fez Saiss airport. The African Development Bank will also finance this project, which is expected to cost around USD 71 million. The expansion will see total capacity at the airport increase to 3 million passengers a year from 500,000 passengers currently.

This project is expected to help the regions of Fez, Taza-Al Hoceima-Taounate and Meknes strengthen their infrastructure and economic development and will also work alongside other projects such as the Fez-Oujda highway. The highway will be 320 kilometers when it is complete in 2011 and is being built to improve access.

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