Indian, Greek team to build €520m New Heraklion airport on Crete

The government of Greece has awarded the contract to build and run an airport on the island of Crete to a consortium led by India’s GMR Airports and GEK Terna Group of Athens.

The two companies will design, build, finance and operate the New Heraklion International Airport for 35 years, including the phase one construction period, which is expected to last five years.

Expected capital expenditure for Phase 1 construction is €520 million.

Crete’s present international airport, Nikos Kazantzakis, is the second largest in Greece and is reaching the limit of its capacity despite a number of expansion projects. It will be closed once its replacement is operational.

Bengaluru-based GMR, which is the largest private developer of airports in India, first put a bid in for the New Heraklion project in 2016. Greece has been trying to find a consortium willing to fund the scheme since 2009, when the debt crisis made the scheme problematic.

The project will be funded using a mix of equity sales, accruals from Nikos Kazantzakis and grants from Greece’s treasury.

Sidharath Kapur, executive director, GMR Airports, commented: "This award reinforces our position as a major global airport operator and will provide a fillip to the growth of the company. We expect to complete necessary documentation and concession signing over the course of next few months."

GMR presently runs Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi, Rajiv Gandhi International Airport in Hyderabad, and Mactan Cebu International Airport in the Philippines, in partnership with local firm Megawide.

It is also developing the Clark International Airport project in Philippines, also with the help of Megawide.

Image: Matala beach: 2 million people go to Crete each year to get away from it all  (Nikater/Creative Commons)

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