A deadline of May 6, 2016 has been given by the relevant transport ministry for the submission of guaranteed bids for the construction of a new airport in the Kastelli, Crete site, although other reports claim the deadline may be extended to early June.
One factor that is apparently bedeviling the project is a delay in the first review of the ongoing “Greek program”, i.e. the third bailout, by the country’s institutional creditors. Uncertainty is cited as a factor being closely followed by potential major investors in the country.
The final tender conditions are expected in early April, which would then mean a period of 45 to 60 days to allow for guaranteed bids.
According to reports, two Greek banks, National and Alpha, will act as co-guarantors of the proposed project and as part of the financing scheme, given that participation by foreign banks – amid the current economic situation – appears as remote.
On the drawing board, the new airport will be built via a long-term lease management contract, and with a projected construction budget of 850 million euros. The state would hold 45 percent of a management company’s share capital, with the remaining majority portion held by the winning concessionaire.
Land expropriation costs are estimated at 100 million euros.
Four candidates have appeared for the Kastelli airport construction and management project, from Greece, China, France and Spain.
According to reports, the China State Construction Engineering Corp., China’s biggest construction company, leads one consortium that also includes the firm Archirodon and the Zurich Airport. Greek construction sector leader Aktor is in a second consortium with France-based Vinci; J&P Avax, another Greek multinational, has teamed up with Bouygues and Aeroports De Paris, also from France. The fourth consortium includes the local group GEK Terna in partnership with the Spanish group ACS, one of the world’s biggest airport operators.
The Kastelli / Kissamos region is located in extreme western Crete, Greece's largest island and a popular holiday destination.