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Last Updated: Tuesday, 6 May, 2003, 09:07 GMT 10:07 UK
US firm wins Iraq airports deal
Basra Airport

The US has awarded a $2.5m (1.55m) contract to run the three largest commercial airports in Iraq to a US company with close ties to the Department of Defense.

The US Agency for International Development (USAID) said SkyLink will manage Baghdad, Basra and Mosul international airports to allow humanitarian operations and restore normal air services to Iraq.

"The reopening and effective management of the airports is considered a critical link in the US government's humanitarian and reconstruction assistance to the people of Iraq," USAID said.

The contract is initially worth $2.5m, but reports claim this could increase to $10.2m over 18 months, depending on how much work is required.

"As the contract progresses, SkyLink will work with Iraqi staff in preparation for turning over management," the USAID release said without giving a timeframe.

Hotspot operator

"SkyLink has administered sensitive programs in many post-conflict countries for the US government and the United Nations," including "the three major uniformed services", according to its website.

The site said SkyLink had been operating for 12 years in over 60 countries on peace-keeping, non-combat evacuations, aid and reconstruction projects.

USAID has now awarded all eight of the reconstruction contracts it tendered.

But the tendering process has been criticised because only a select group of US companies were invited to bid for the contracts.

The largest contract, for so-called capital construction, went to Bechtel. It was valued at $680m.

The total value of the contracts awarded exceeds $1bn.

US appoints new Iraq oil boss
04 May 03  |  Business
Bechtel's long game in the Gulf
22 Apr 03  |  Business
Bechtel wins giant Iraq contract
17 Apr 03  |  Business

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