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GMR wins rights to build new airport in Greece

LiveMint logoLiveMint 07-06-2017 Tarun Shukla

New Delhi: GMR Airports Ltd, a subsidiary of GMR Infrastructure Ltd, has won the rights to build, operate and manage an airport in Greece, its second international airport after Mactan Cebu International Airport (MCIA) in Philippines.

GMR will partner with Greek infrastructure major Terna SA to develop a new international airport at Heraklion, at Crete, the firm said in a statement on Wednesday.

The current Heraklion airport is the second largest airport in Greece and has witnessed steady traffic growth in the last 3-4 years handling  over 6 million passengers annually and is facing capacity constraint. The new airport, once  completed, will replace Heraklion airport.

The scope of the project involves design, construction, financing, operation and maintenance. The concession period for the new project will be 35 years, including 5 years for phase 1 of construction.

“The airport is in line with the asset lite strategy we have adopted for overseas expansion and will see GMR participate in project management and commercial management in addition to airport  operations,” said Srinivas Bommidala, business chairman, GMR Airports, in the statement. 

GMR had earlier built and operated the second airport in Istanbul which it later sold off. 

“This will be GMR Group’s second foray into  Europe after having developed Istanbul’s Sabiha Gokcen airport. Having been selected, we  expect to complete necessary documentation and concession signing over the next few months,” Sidharath Kapur, president, GMR Airports, added.

Last year, GMR also won the bid to build Goa’s second airport, expected to cost Rs3,000 crore, gaining an opportunity to tap tourist traffic to the north of the state. The present airport at Dabolim in Goa has exceeded its capacity of handling five million passengers a year.

The company, which operates the Delhi and Hyderabad airports, has been struggling under heavy debt. With business interests in airports, energy and infrastructure, the group said last week its gross debt almost halved to Rs19,856 crore for fiscal ending March from Rs37,480 crore the year before.

Delhi airport handles about 57.7 million passengers annually, while Hyderabad handles 15.2 million passengers.

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