In 2007, Jordan’s Queen Alia International Airport was named Deal of the Year by Euromoney Project Finance International and Airport Finance Deal of the Year by Jane’s Transport Finance 2007. It was the first successful airport public-private partnership (PPP) project in Jordan and the Middle East and remains the largest private sector investment in Jordan to date. It continues to serve as Jordan’s model for launching a full-scale PPP program in infrastructure.

In 2007, Jordan’s Queen Alia International Airport was named Deal of the Year by Euromoney Project Finance International and Airport Finance Deal of the Year by Jane’s Transport Finance 2007. It was the first successful airport public-private partnership (PPP) project in Jordan and the Middle East and remains the largest private sector investment in Jordan to date. It continues to serve as Jordan’s model for launching a full-scale PPP program in infrastructure.

Queen Alia International Airport, Jordan’s principal domestic and international airport since its construction in 1983, accounts for more than 97 percent of the country’s air traffic. But from 2000 onward, it has been unable to meet the sustained growth in air traffic of 7 percent per year because of capacity constraints. To remedy this, the government invited private sector participation to expand and rehabilitate the airport, including the construction of a new 900,000-square foot terminal. This decision was part of a broader strategy by the government to liberalize air transport policies, restructure the civil aviation sector, and improve the competitiveness of Jordan’s airports. IFC was the government’s lead adviser for structuring and implementing a balanced transaction.

The key objectives for this project were to:

  • Increase the airport’s capacity to handle long-term traffic growth.
  • Develop and enhance Queen Alia’s position as a regional hub airport.
  • Improve operations and service quality standards in line with international best practices.
  • Maximize the value of the project for the government, both in terms of financial proceeds and quality.
  • Eliminate government budgetary support to the airport.
  • Conclude a successful PPP project that could serve as a model for other infrastructure projects in the country.

Through the prequalification process, six bidding consortiums comprised of more than 25 international investors were qualified. The bidding was structured in such a way that financial bids were evaluated based on the payment of annual concession fees as a percentage of gross revenues to the government. The bidder with the highest financial bid would be declared the winner.

All bidders knew they would have to raise their own financing within six months of the bid award. The centerpiece of the project would be the construction of a new 900,000 square foot terminal based on preliminary designs by Foster+Partners. The bidders were also asked to undertake certain predefined improvements to existing airport infrastructure, demolish the existing terminal once the new one is built, and manage all airport services.