The tender for the $800 million Ajman Airport may be issued this year, and construction is expected to begin next March, said officials of the London-based Wiggins Group.

An artist's impression of Ajman International Airport terminal.
The airport will have a 4,000-metre runway and two taxiways, and will be built to cater initially to about two million passengers per year. It will have provision for hangers for maintenance, general aviation and a royal lounge.

A rough masterplan has been submitted to the Ajman government.

The plan calls for about eight kilometres of land and involves 20 to 30 boutique hotels, resorts, residential and tourism facilities. It will also have a commercial and light industrial zone that will feature 20,000 habitable units and attract investment as well as tourists, to keep the airport busy.

Construction of the first phase of the airport is expected to take about 18 months. Commercial flights are expected to begin by 2006, said Wiggins officials.

Last year, an agreement was signed between the Ajman Government and Wiggins Group for the project.

The officials said they had a successful meeting with the Ajman government this week and now have the go-ahead to develop the detailed design of the project.

"We've had a successful meeting with the Ajman government officials and have their go-ahead to work on the detailed design, which should be finalised in the coming months," said Oliver Iny, chief executive of the Wiggins Group.

"If everything works out as planned, then the tendering process for the first phase will take place before the end of the current year. Construction of the airport should begin in early 2004, probably in March."

Ramesh Vadgama, architect of the airport, said: "A lot of work has to be done on the landscaping as it is totally barren land, to ensure foreign particles do not fly onto the runway. The airport will be built in phases and, as we progress, we will add on the buildings, terminals and other facilities to support the growth."

According to the plan, the airport will be part of a growing network of airports and airstrips under the brand name PlaneStation.

The traffic will be boosted by the network as well as it will bank on the spillover effect from Dubai International Airport.