Greece relaunches €1.5bn Crete airport tender

The Kasteli project, back on track after being shelved during the euro crisis, comes amid hopes the country is emerging from the trough of recession.

The Greek government has relaunched a tender for the construction and management of a €1.5 billion airport and related roads on the island of Crete.

Greece tendered the airport for the first time in 2009, but the process was called off in 2011 as the euro crisis built up and the country found itself cut off from foreign debt markets.

The deadline for submission of qualification documents is now 11 November 2014, with the construction phase expected to be completed by 2019. The project will be developed on a design, build, finance, operation and maintenance basis for a period of 35 years.

The government is planning to contribute up to €220 million, with the remaining funds to be disbursed by the winning bidder. The new airport will feature a 3.2 kilometre-long runway and at least five fixed boarding bridges. The new roads will have a total length of 24 kilometres.

Greece’s Infrastructure Minister said during a visit to Crete that more than 10 investors had previously been attracted by the project, including French-based Bouygues and Vinci. At least one major developer – China’s State Construction Engineering Corporation – has already shown interest this time round, according to reports.

Kasteli will replace Crete's existing Heraklion airport, Greece’s second-largest behind Athens with nearly six million visitors a year. It will be located on the south western side of the country’s eponymous Air Force Base.