Greek construction firm GEK Terna and India’s GMR Airports Limited (GAL) have tentatively been named contractors for the construction and operation of the 850 million euro Kastelli airport in Heraklion, Crete, paving the way for the long-stalled project that is expected to handle more than seven million passengers per year for a concession period of 37 years.
A final decision on the deal is expected in two months’ time to be followed by parliamentary approval.
“We hope we can start construction works at the beginning of 2018, if all the necessary procedures move fast,” an official at GEK TERNA told Reuters.
The Greek infrastructure ministry described the multimillion euro deal as a “vote of confidence in the national economy and in the country”.
Announcing the completion of the international competition for the Kastelli airport project, Infrastructure Minister Christos Spirtzis said “the country is turning a page with infrastructure projects now planned and implemented under a different reasoning”.
The project is set to be completed within five years and involves the design, construction, financing, operation and maintenance of the airport. The state will contribute 180 million euros, or 46 percent.
Budgeted at reaching approximately 520 million euros, it is expected to create 1,000 jobs during construction and 500 permanent positions upon completion.
Under the agreement, 2 percent of the airport’s gross revenues will go to local government organizations.
GMR Group is a leading global infrastructure conglomerate with interests in airport, energy, transportation and urban infrastructure. Greek company GEK Terna is active in construction, energy, mining, waste management, and real estate development.
The new Kastelli airport will take the place of the current Nikos Kazantzakis airport in Heraklion.