24-Jan-2013 12:26 PM

Turkey to build world's largest airport in Istanbul, tender process to start on 24-Jan-2013

Turkey's Transportation Minister Binali Yildirim said Turkey plans to construct the world's largest airport in Istanbul, as reportedly by Interfax and Ankara. The new airport will be developed on 77 million sqm of land along the Black Sea coast of the city's European side and have a capacity of 150 million passengers p/a when completed. The four-stage project will have annual capacity of 90 million in the first stage, which will be operational in 2017. He said the tender process will start with ads in national papers on 24-Jan-2013. Mr Yildrim said Istanbul Ataturk currently handles 45 million passengers p/a while Istanbul Sabiha Gokcen accommodates 15 million passengers p/a. Mr Yildirim said, "There has been a great increase in the number of flights to and passengers in Istanbul in the past 10 years. The number of travellers has surpassed Istanbul's population by four times. The ability to improve and expand Ataturk airport is severely limited. Therefore, in order to realise Istanbul's future air-traffic potential and to provide a solution, it is evident that a new airport is needed. This will be the world's biggest airport". The government will start accepting bids for the project and hold an auction on 03-May-2013. The airport will be built in a build-operate-transfer model and the winner will get the rights to run the new airport for 25 years, Mr Yildirim said. The airport will have six runways and "at full capacity the new airport will be the largest in the world in terms of passengers". The minister had previously forecast that the project would cost USD5.6 billion. A three-tier process will determine the winning bid, which will have to first meet technical qualifications, then compete on pricing, and finally make an offer for annual rent payments to the General Directorate of State Airports Authority of Turkey that will be paid throughout the operating period, Mr Yildirim said. The highest rent payer will win, according to the minister. Meanwhile, Turkey will provide the operator with traffic and passenger guarantees to help the winning bid raise financing, Mr Yildirim said, without providing further details. Companies that have expressed an interest in the tender include TAV Airports Holding Co, Limak Holding AS and Alarko Holding AS, among others. 

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