Abu Dhabi: Al Jaber Engineering and Contracting (Alec) has been awarded a Dh4.3-billion contract to build Concourse 3 of Dubai International Airport, Fatima Obaid Al Jaber, the chief operating officer of Al Jaber Group that wholly owns the firm, said yesterday.

"We have today signed the contract with the authorities at the Dubai airport," Al Jaber told Gulf News in an exclusive interview.

"The project will have an execution period of two and a half years," she said, adding that the authorities had been in direct negotiations with Alec.

Concourse 3 is scheduled for completion by the end of 2011, which would lift Dubai International Airport's passenger handling capacity to 80 million a year from the initially planned 70 million.

Upon the venture's completion, Dubai International Airport will have three terminals and three concourses, two cargo "mega" terminals, an airport free zone, an expo centre with three large exhibition halls, a major aircraft maintenance hub and a flower centre to handle perishable goods.

Earlier, a consortium led by Al Habtoor Leighton had withdrawn from the project, saying the partners couldn't agree on contract terms.

The joint venture which was to build Concourse 3 comprised Al Habtoor Leighton with a 40 per cent share, South Africa's Murray & Roberts with 40 per cent and Japan's Takenaka Corp with 20 per cent.

Abu Dhabi-based Al Jaber Group has developed and constructed some of the most important infrastructure, buildings and industrial sites.

It owns and operates some of the largest industries in the Middle East and operates some of the largest fleets of ships, cranes and other heavy equipment.