Project Finance International chose Medinah Airport project as “Middle East and Africa Infrastructure Deal of the Year” in the Middle East and Africa. Turkey’s TAV Airports undertook the project with its partners Saudi Oger and Al Rajhi Holding, which is the first fully-fledged airport privatization in Saudi Arabia and Gulf Region.

Privatization of the Muhammad Bin Abdulaziz International Airport in Madinah Al-Munawarah was chosen as “the infrastructure deal of the year” in the Middle East and Africa by Project Finance International (PFI), a leading Thomson Reuters publication-, recognizing corporate and individual success in the global financial industry.

The award was presented to Eng. Alaa Al Samman, PPP Team Leader and Director of Business Development and Property Management at GACA (The General Authority of Civil Aviation of Saudi Arabia) and TAV Airports GCC Director, Dr. Waleed Youssef, during a ceremony held at Hilton Park Lane, London.

A landmark project in terms of size, importance and innovation in the region, the TIBAH Consortium –formed by TAV Airports, Saudi Oger and Al Rajhi Holding- entered into a BOT contract with the General Authority of Civil Aviation of Saudi Arabia (GACA), in June 2012. The Project secured USD 1.2 billion in Islamic finance facilities from Arab National Bank, The National Commercial Bank and The Saudi British Bank. It constitutes the first large project finance transaction in the MENA region to be entirely structured on a Sharia-compliant basis under a PPP scheme.

“We’re honored with this recognition from the international financial community,” said TAV Airports GCC Director, Dr. Waleed Youssef. “We are committed to implement industry best practices and to provide innovative solutions to meet our customers’ diverse range of needs. Our unrivalled expertise in airport project finance, design, construction and operations, gives us a strong competitive edge. With our powerful partners Saudi Oger and Al Rajhi Holding, we’re determined to transfer this expertise to Medinah Airport.”

TAV Airports CFO, Burcu Geris, added “We are delighted to be the proud receivers of this award which recognizes our deal of many “first”s: first fully-fledged airport PPP project in Saudi Arabia and first large project finance transaction in the MENA region which is entirely structured on Shariah compliant basis. We faced many challenges including the Shariah structuring issues and lack of precedent projects in Saudi Arabia with traffic risk and were successful in overcoming them one by one including bringing in a pioneering Islamic financing structure which can be used for similar future projects in the region.”

The consortium will build a new terminal as well as apron and taxiways, initially increasing the airport’s capacity to 8 million passengers. The construction is expected to be completed in a record time, and will be operated by the consortium company for 25 years.