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By Asli Kandemir
ISTANBUL, June 3 (Reuters) - TAV, a Turkish airport builder and operator, said it was in talks with Turkey’s state airport authority to build a 100 million euro ($136 million) international terminal at Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport.
The terminal will boost capacity at the Turkish Airlines hub, the third-busiest airport in Europe, by more than 10 million passengers, TAV Chief Executive Sani Sener told reporters late on Monday.
TAV already operates Ataturk, which handled 51 million passengers in 2013, an increase of 14 percent from the year before. TAV runs four other Turkish airports.
“We are seeking to raise Ataturk Airport’s capacity to 65 or 70 million (passengers) until our contract is finished,” Sener after a presentation.
The proposed new terminal has become a focus after a government plan to replace Ataturk by building a new airport has been pushed back. The project to build one of the world’s largest airports at a cost of $30 billion has faced delays amid concerns about financing and legal wrangling over its environmental impact.
TAV’s contract to run the facilities at Ataturk expires in 2021, prompting the Istanbul-based company to seek investments in other regions to keep growing.
Sener said TAV expected a decision in July or August on its joint bid to rebuild and operate a terminal at New York’s LaGuardia Airport.
TAV said last year the consortium behind the bid included TAV shareholder Aeroports de Paris, Goldman Sachs and Tutor Perini Corp.
The state Port Authority of New York & New Jersey, which operates LaGuardia, began a tender process for companies interested in redeveloping and operating the New York hub’s main Central Terminal, whose outdated design prevents modern airplanes from using the terminal and causes delays.
The $3.6 billion project is expected to be completed by 2021.
Sener said TAV is looking at opportunities to operate 10 to 12 airports in southeast Asia and Africa, including overhauls of some of them. TAV already operates airports in Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Macedonia, Georgia and Latvia. ($1 = 0.74 euro) (Writing by Ayla Jean Yackley; Editing by Jonny Hogg and Jane Baird)