In 2007, the International Finance Corporation successfully advised the government of Jordan on structuring and awarding 25 years concession for the Queen Alia International Airport QAIA in Amman. The project includes rehabilitating existing facilities, constructing a new terminal with a capacity of around 10 million passengers per year, and operating the airport.

The concession was awarded to the Airport International Group with a bid of 54.58% of gross revenues to the government, the highest revenue-sharing percentage achieved for similar projects anywhere in the world.

The Airport International Group AIG is a Jordanian shareholding company. It is a consortium which consists of three financial shareholders; Invest AD (UAE) “38%”, Noor Financial Investment Company (Kuwait) “24%” and Edgo Group (Jordan) “9.5%”. Two specialized sister companies Joannou & Paraskevaides (Overseas) Limited (Cyprus) “9.5%” and J&PAvax (Greece) “9.5%” which have formed a joint venture to undertake AIG’s major construction program. Finally, operations and management of QAIA are handled by Aéroports de Paris Management (France) “9.5%”.

In May 2007, the Government of Jordan signed a 25 year agreement with AIG by which the latter was entrusted to operate, maintain and rehabilitate the existing QAIA landside and airside facilities.

AIG’s total capital commitment is $750m, where AIG will complete the design, engineering, procurement and construction of a new passenger terminal. Following the launch of the new terminal, AIG will implement the plan to demolish the existing terminal at QAIA.

In Nov. 2007, AIG became responsible for the operation of QAIA, the rehabilitation of existing facilities and the construction of the new terminal (artist rendering above).

Designed by Foster and Partners, the QAIA new terminal will have the capacity to handle 9 million passengers per year by end of phase one which is scheduled to complete in spring 2012 by building a 100,000 square meters. Phase two involves the potential further expansion of the terminal, allowing it to handle 12 million passengers per year if needed.

The new QAIA terminal will be a single, 4 levels building with separate floors for Arrival and Departure halls. Upon completion of the first phase of the construction, a total of 14 gates will be in operation upon the terminal’s launch in 2012, expandable to 25 gates in the final phase. The building containing central facilities, such as check-in hall and baggage handling, will immediately reflect the full capacity of the new airport.

The construction of the new terminal is in progress, and extensive work is being done to achieve the 2012 target date. Due to the complexity of the construction process, it is divided into phases, where the first phase is divided into three parts. The first part is the core area, which contains the airport’s central facilities like baggage handling and check-in, is planned to be completed in spring 2012. The two piers, which are located in the northern and southern parts of the core area, are expected to partially open to the public later in 2010.

This project is going to have positive impact on Jordan’s economy. The government will accrue significant concession fees and benefit from considerable fiscal savings by no longer having to subsidize airport operations. The new terminal will help to promote the country as a regional economic and tourist destination, where tourism is sharing Jordan’s GDP with 10% and offering nearly 45,000 jobs, expected to increase in the upcoming years.

The project is expected to generate more than $1 billion in foreign direct investment and lead to creation of 23,000 new jobs over its lifespan.

Jordanians are waiting the launch of the new airport as they believe it is going to be the new gateway to their country, a gateway they will be proud of.