The Government of Greece has issued a Letter of Award to the consortium of GMR Airports Ltd, a subsidiary of GMR Infrastructure Ltd, and Terna Group for the development, operations and management of New International Airport of Heraklion at Crete.

GMR Airports is the designated airport operator in the consortium for this project. The consortium was declared a provisional contractor in June 2017. Greece is a major international tourist destination, with over 27 million tourists per annum. Crete is the largest and most visited island in Greece.

Heraklion airport, located in Crete, is the second largest in Greece and has witnessed a CAGR traffic growth of 10 per cent over the past 3 years. The current airport is facing a capacity constraint and hence the new airport will replace the existing Heraklion airport.

The scope of the project involves design, construction, financing, operation, and maintenance of the New Heraklion Crete New International Airport. The Greenfield project has a concession period of 35 years, including Phase 1 construction of 5 years. Expected capex for Phase 1 construction is €520 million.

The entire project will be funded through a mix of equity, accruals from the existing airport, and financial grant being provided by the Government of Greece. Hence, debt is not required in this project.

Srinivas Bommidala, Business Chairman, Energy and International Airports, said: “Along with our partner GEK Terna, we will aim to deliver an airport of global standards which would be a matter of pride for Greece and provide a further fillip to the traffic potential of Crete.”

Sidharath Kapur, Executive Director, GMR Airports Ltd, added: “This award reinforces the position of GMR Airports Ltd 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 Group’s airport portfolio has around 159 million passenger capacity in operation and under development. It comprises Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi, Rajiv Gandhi International Airport in Hyderabad, and Mactan Cebu International Airport in partnership with Megawide in Philippines.

Greenfield projects under development includes an airport at Mopa in Goa and at Heraklion, Crete, Greece in partnership with GEK Terna. Recently, the GMR-megawide consortium has won the Clark International Airport’s EPC project, the second project in Philippines. It is also developing smart cities adjacent to Delhi and Hyderabad airports.