By Dominic Welling
The Greek Ministry of Infrastructure has postponed the deadline for a €1 billion tender to build a new airport on the island of Crete.
It is the fifth time the project has been pushed back, and the latest deadline has been extended to 18 October. The original date for the tender was 9 February 2010.
According to Greece’s Ministry of Infrastructure, the award of the tender has been postponed because all interested parties have requested further information to better assess the size and feasibility of the project.
In a statement the Greek Ministry of Infrastructure, said: “Undoubtedly the new international airport Kasteli is a large development project on the island.
“The tender should have been properly prepared. Unfortunately, during regular practice of the previous government had auctioned without even rudimentary preparation.”
It added: “All participants in the tender submitted proposals to reduce unnecessary expenditure and development of the airport in phases.
“The Department of Infrastructure, Transport and Communications reasonably considered it necessary to adapt the terms of the tender to the new reality of financial market to achieve the presentation of important deals in healthy competition.”
The new Kasteli airport will be built to replace Crete’s existing international airport of Heraklion, which has been operating since 1939 and is no longer adequate to handle the island’s traffic of more than 2mppa.
According to the Greek government, Kasteli airport should be up and running by 2015 and will be co-financed by Greece, the EU and the European Investment Bank (EIB).
The government also revealed that among the companies bidding for the project are the French construction firms Vinci and Bouygues, as well as Greece’s Ellaktor and J&P Avax and Holland’s Archirodon.