Dubai:  A leading UAE bank and two investment firms are keen to provide loans to Sudan for the new $2.5-billion Khartoum International Airport, a Sudanese official said.

The Sudanese government is expected to award the contract for building the airport in August.

Saudi Bin Ladin Group, Turkish airport operator TAV and a Chinese company are competing for the deal, the project’s engineering and technical director Mudathir Ali said.

Apart from the 10-million annual capacity airport, scheduled to open in 2012, there will be a government office complex and a free trade zone in the 79 square-kilometre development.

At least three UAE firms have offered loans. “One is a major bank and two are investment funds,” Ali said, adding that the bank is initially ready to provide $500 million but no deal has been agreed upon yet.