Tourism Industry News
Greece Seeks Investors for 1-Billion-Euro Crete Airport
Greece said on Tuesday it is inviting would-be investors to bid for a concession to build and manage a 1 billion euro airport on the resort island of Crete. The Greek government will contribute 220 million euros ($315.9 million) towards construction of the new facility at Kastelli, which will replace the existing airport at Heraklion, Crete’s biggest city, Environment Minister George Souflias said in a statement.
The government will hold a 55 percent stake in the new airport’s operating company. The winning bidder, which will provide the bulk of the funding, will have the remaining 45 percent and operate the airport for 35 years.
The new airport will have a capacity to handle between 5.5 and 10 million passengers per year and is projected to start operations in 2015, Souflias said. Greece, one of Europe’s biggest tourism destinations, is seeking private investment to help improve its infrastructure and attract more visitors. Crete is one of the country’s biggest resort islands.
Concession contracts have financed infrastructure projects in Greece, as the government is faced with chronic budget shortfalls and a high public debt. Athens airport, the country’s biggest, is managed under a concession held by German engineering firm Hochtief. Investors must submit bids for Kastelli airport by Feb. 9, 2010. The government expects to pick the winning bid in the first half of next year, Souflias said.
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