A total of 15 consultancy firms are competing for a key contract linked to the establishment of an international-scale airport at Sohar. Commercial bids were opened here on Monday revealing a line-up of leading local and international firms in contention for the prestigious contract.
In the race are well-known firms such as Khatib & Alami; Dar al Handasah; ADP I Architects, Engineers & Planners; National Engineer-ing Office, Consulting Engineering Services; Gulf Engineering Consultants; Dornier Consulting; HA-M; Larsen Architects & Consulting Engineers; W&P Architects; Renardet; INECO (Spain); Scott Wilson Ltd; Engineering Consultants Group and Sundaram Architects Pvt Ltd.
They were among a total of 29 firms that had initially collected tender documents for the consultancy contract, underlining the robust interest from the outset of the project. The successful bidder will be invited to advise the Ministry of Transport and Communications on the development of a major airport catering to Sohar's emerging status as an industrial and petrochemical hub.
Authorities envision a facility large enough to handle some of the largest passenger aircraft in operation today or due to enter service in the near future. It will be designed to accommodate aircraft as large as the Boeing-747, as well as the world's largest airliner, the Airbus A380 super-jumbo, which will enter service in 2007. The A380 can seat more than 800 passengers across twin decks.
Besides meeting world-scale standards in its design and construction, the proposed airport will be designed for a throughput of 500,000 passengers per year, as well as 100,000 tonnes of air cargo. Design standards will be in keeping with IATA Class-A standards, as well as the recommendations and standards of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).
In addition, the selected consultant will be required to prepare a detailed masterplan lay-out charting the future growth of the airport and all associated facilities over the next 30 years. The masterplan lay-out will include features such as the paved runway, taxiway and aprons, passenger terminal building, air traffic control tower (ATC), rescue and fire fighting services, catering building, fuel facilities and security facilities.
The contract also calls for the provision of consultancy services covering the pre-design study, preliminary and detailed design drawings, tender document preparation, tendering and post-tendering services, construction supervision and estimation of costs, linked to the construction of the Sohar airport.
Importantly, the new facility will serve as key component in a rapidly expanding communications infrastructure centring on the giant industrial port at Sohar. In the past year the Ministry of Transport and Communications has awarded a string of contracts that will significantly augment road links out of Sohar. Among these contracts is a project for the dualisation of the key Sohar-Buraimi road at a cost of around RO 44 million.
In another ambitious initiative, a consultant has been appointed to provide design consultancy services linked to the planned construction of the Batinah coastal road project, one of the biggest road projects in Oman's modern history. The roughly 245-kilometre-long blacktop will start from near the Naseem Garden Roundabout and end close to Khatmat Malaha on the Sultanate's border with the United Arab Emirates. The proposed blacktop, which will hug the Gulf of Oman coast, will provide a vital access route to traffic heading towards and leading out from the Port of Sohar.
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Big push to accommodate growth in air travelers and fleets