3/24/2008

GMR consortium enters runway at Sabiha Gokcen airport

Economic Times of India - The consortium of GMR Infrastructure, Limak of Turkey, and Malaysia Airports Holdings has signed an agreement with the Turkish defence ministry for developing the second international airport in Istanbul. Following this, the Sabiha Gokcen International Airport (SGIA) was officially transferred to the consortium. The need for a second airport has arisen because the existing Ataturk airport is bursting at its seams. For GMR, which holds 40% in the venture — Limak holds 40% while Malaysia Airports 20% — the project is a huge boost. It marks the company’s first airport footprint outside the country. While for Turkey — a fast-growing EU aspirant — the deal brings exciting FDI at a time when the country is looking at foreign investments, and the deal would dispel any fears of financial restrictions. Opened in 2001 as the second international airport of Istanbul, Sabiha Gokcen’s annual passenger capacity now is 4 million but is targeted to zoom to 10 million. Currently, SGIA has an international terminal with a passenger capacity of 3 million annually. The targeted operational handover for SGIA will be in end April. The construction of the new terminal is expected in 30 months. Sabiha Gokcen is slated to grow at 80%.