Benghazi’s Benina airport opened its new Berniq terminal last Thursday. The terminal is a landmark PPP project in Libya as it is considered by its financers to be the first project completed on a Build, Operate and Transfer (BOT) basis.
The project was financed by Libya’s private sector and eastern headquartered Bank of Commerce and Development.
The terminal was supposed to have been completed by the end of 2021, but various reasons, including the outbreak of the Coronavirus led to a delay.
Background to the BCD financed BOT project
It will be recalled that the Abdalla Thinni Interim Government based in eastern Libya had signed an agreement in August 2019 with the BCD, Libya’s first and largest private bank, to finance and construct a passenger terminal at Benina International Airport.
The agreement was a BOT model valid for 25 years, after which the bank returns the airport to the Libyan state.
It was reported at the time that the terminal will be of ‘‘full specifications and international standards’’ in a 2.5-hectare plot of land allocated to the bank by the eastern government within Benina International Airport.
Giving details about the terminal at the time, the Privatisation and Investment Board (PIB) described the new proposed terminal as a ‘‘smart’’ terminal. It said it:
- Has a capacity of 2.5 million passengers per year
- Smart systems for completing passenger entry stages, travel procedures and guidance for travel lounges.
- Three VIP lounges: one for external, one for internal flights and one for private flights
- Equipped with modern facilities, offices, cafes, business services and a duty free market
- For the first time in Libya: systems for detecting Covid-19 cases according to the Covid-19 protocol are spread throughout the passenger terminal
- Automated sterilization and cleaning equipment throughout the airport
- High technology guidance handling and management systems
- VIP limousine services and systems to provide comfort for travellers through the terminal for all classes.
According to the agreement announced in 2019, the bank limited the duration of the implementation of the project to 8 months from the date of signing the contract.
On a related matter, it will be recalled that the BCD had established a new airliner in 2018, Berniq Airlines. The terminal is named after this airliner.