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DCA moves airport procurement online

Tenders are going out for phase two of Dubai’s airport expansion project, and companies that want to bid will have to do so online.

Dubai Civil Aviation (DCA) today told companies wanting to bid for its airport expansion projects that they’ll have to do so online in the future.

Those bids must be submitted at Middle East Airport Exchange (www.ax-max.com), a new business to business portal unveiled this morning by DCA and Malaysia’s airportXchange.

The first of a series of tenders — for cargo handling equipment — has already been posted on the Middle East Airport Exchange. Interested bidders for the project have until July 10 to ‘pre-register’ themselves, according to Khalifa Zaffin, director of engineering, DCA.

DCA will then carry out screening of companies to decide who is allowed to formally bid for the tender. Qualified companies will then be notified and invited to submit their bids. The tender has a tentative value of around AED 450 million.

“All tendering for the second phase [of Dubai’s current airport expansion project] will be online,” said Zaffin. He said that he hoped online tendering would save DCA, “time and money.”

DCA officials said that the creation of the Middle East Airport Exchange and the decision to move the airport expansion project’s tendering online is in line with Dubai’s e-government initiative.

DCA envisions the Middle East Airport Exchange as a vertical portal supported by the Middle East’s entire aviation industry. As such, it will include services and information specific to the industry.

Equity stakes may be sold to DCA equivalents in other countries to encourage their participation. “Middle East airports do not really work together,” said Zaffin. “We would like other airports to become members of this.”

An investment of around AED 5 million will be made in the venture, which is 51% owned by DCA and 49% owned by airportXchange. Revenue is expected to come from signing on fees, transaction revenues and advertising.

The Dubai Government already has its own procurement portal in the form of Tejari.com, and questions were asked today over why DCA felt it needed its own. Ghanem Al Falasi, IT director at DCA, insisted that the specific needs of the airport industry made a separate portal necessary, adding that DCA will still utilise Tejari.

“Tejari is focused on general procurement; this is very focused on one area specifically,” explained Falasi. “Expansion tendering will be done on [the Middle East Airport Exchange.] Everyday procurement will be done through Tejari.”

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