ATHENS May 31 Greek construction group GEK
TERNA and India's GMR Infrastructure hope to
start building a new 850 million euro ($950.90 million) airport
on Crete early next year, a source from GEK TERNA said on
Greece on Tuesday awarded the contract to the Greek/Indian
joint venture, which was the sole bidder. It will build the
airport via a private-public partnership and operate it for 37
years, subject to regulatory approval.
Athens has made several attempts since 2010 to build a new
airport at Kasteli on Crete to replace the existing airport at
Heraklion, Greece's second largest. But the country's seven-year
debt crisis has made it difficult to attract investors.
"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 on condition of anonymity.
The cost for building the airport is estimated at 480
million euros with the state offering 180 million euros to
acquire a 46 percent stake in the airport. The joint venture
will own the rest. The total investment is 850 million euros.
In a country with an unemployment rate at 23 percent, the
highest in the euro zone, the project is expected to create
1,000 jobs throughout its 5-year construction time and 500
permanent ones once it is up and running.
The concession needs to be approved by a Greek court of
auditors and parliament before the joint venture starts work on
($1 = 0.8939 euros)
(Reporting by Angeliki Koutantou. Editing by Jane Merriman)