ATHENS Greece expects to award a contract this year for a new airport on Crete, its infrastructure minister said on Thursday, paving the way for the debt-laden country's biggest greenfield project in almost a decade.
Greece has made several attempts to build the airport since 2010, but the country's debt crisis made it difficult to attract investors.
India's GMR Infrastructure in a joint venture with Greek construction group GEK TERNA last year submitted the sole bid to build and operate the new airport at Kasteli.
"The first phase (of the tender) is coming to conclusion and consequently, we will have a winner this year," Christos Spirtzis told parliament.
The new airport, worth an estimated 850 million euros ($909.50 million), will replace the ageing Heraklion airport, the second-biggest in Greece in terms of 2015 traffic, handling nearly 6 million tourists a year.
The new airport will be completed in five years, Spirtzis said.
($1 = 0.9346 euros)
(Reporting by Angeliki Koutantou. Editing by Jane Merriman)