Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri participated this afternoon in part of a meeting held at the Grand Serail dedicated to launching the preparatory phase of the expansion of the Rafic Hariri International Airport in Beirut. The phase includes the preparation of financial, technical and legal feasibility studies for this project that aims to raise the capacity of the airport to 20 million passengers annually.
The meeting was attended by the Minister of Public Works and Transport Youssef Fenianos, representatives of the Ministries of Environment and Interior, the Council for Development and Reconstruction, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation, Middle East Airlines, the International Finance Corporation, the technical consultant ICF SH & E, the Lebanese firm SETS, the legal consultant DLA piper law firm, Badri and Salim Al Maoushi Lebanese Office, and the concerned parties involved in the project included in the Capital investment program presented by Lebanon during CEDRE Conference.
In a speech during the meeting, Premier Hariri stressed the importance of this project and said:
"You all know that Beirut International airport is our gateway to the world and the world's gateway to Lebanon so the first and last thing any passenger will see is the airport. We need to work on this fast and I think we started with the IFC working on the general plans and business plans.
I cannot tell you how much support you have from the government. You have our full support to finish up as quickly as you can. We need to move fast and the success of this project is extremely important for Lebanon, not only as an airport but also as a project within CEDRE, within the reforms we want to make and to encourage the private sector to invest. As you know there are many companies that are willing to come and invest in Rafic Hariri International Airport.
You have the full support of the government, the full support of the Airport and the ministry of public works and my support, so hopefully we will reach some good conclusions in the near future.
I thank all the international institutions that are here working on this project, the HCP and civil society."
Minister Fenianos said: "I am honored to launch with you today the project of the expansion of Rafic Hariri International Airport in partnership with the private sector. I was convinced from the start that the private sector needs to be involved in its development if we are to reach the level of modernity and effectiveness reached by the airports of the capitals of the developed countries.
We are fully aware that the work we are currently doing at Beirut airport will not be sufficient to improve the service of passengers as we aspire to. Therefore, while we are studying how to avoid the repetition of the congestion that we witnessed last summer, I ask you to speed up what you are doing. I also asked my representative in the project committee, Ibrahim Abu Aliwi, to facilitate your work and secure all the information necessary for the success of this project as soon as possible.
I hope that the future government will support you in your work and move ahead without delay in implementing this vital project for our country and for our economy."
For his part, the Secretary-General of the Higher Council for Privatization Ziad Hayek said that the importance of the meeting is that it "brings together all parties involved in the project" to accompany the work from the beginning.
A speech was also delivered by Muneer Ferozie, IFC Regional Head - PPP, Privatization and Infrastructure Financial Advisory.
The consultants then presented explanations of the work plan in the preparatory stage.
Source: National News Agency