Airport operator is hiring consultant team for upgrading of Seeb airport in Gulf state capital.
BAA is planning a £128m redevelopment of an airport in Muscat, the capital of the the Middle Eastern state of Oman.

The company owns 25% of the Oman Airports Management Company, a joint-venture group that took over Seeb and Salalah international airports in January with a concession to run both of them for 25 years. The group's main construction plans are targeted at Seeb airport in the Omani capital, Muscat.

The scheme is intended to increase the number of passengers the airport can handle in a year from 2.5 million to 6.5 million. It will involve the extension of the terminal building, road building and the construction of car parks.

BAA, which is overseeing the construction, is close to finalising a team of consultants to draw up a feasibility plan for Seeb airport.

The consultants include architects, QSs, structural engineers, M&E consultants and construction managers. It is understood that a shortlist of five for the role of masterplanner has been whittled down to Pascall+Watson and GMW. BAA refused to confirm this.

OAMC development director David Frizell, the former head of construction at Gatwick airport, said the team of consultants would be approved at a board meeting on 22 May.

Frizell said: "There has not been too much airport development in Oman recently – we are looking for local practices as well as firms with airport experience around the world."

Frizell said he had yet to decide on whether to appoint a main contractor on the programme, but hinted that there could be opportunities for international contractors.

He said: "I am getting a feel for the local market. While there are good general contractors in Oman, there is not a single firm capable of handling this scale of development."

The feasibility study is due for completion in the autumn. Work on the airport itself is due to finish in 2006. The OAMC is co-owned by Bahwan Trading Company, the government of Oman, Oman Aviation Services and engineering group ABB.