Iran plans $2.8 billion airport expansion

Published September 27th, 2015 - 03:04 GMT

Iran plans a $2.8 billion expansion of the Imam Khomeini International Airport (IKIA), with the French industrial group Bouygues and Aéroports de Paris in talks to carry out the project, a press report says.

The plan is to build a new terminal with the capacity to handle 20 million passengers a year. The airport, about 40 kilometers south of Tehran, currently handles 6 million air travelers.

The existing terminal will be used for domestic flights, currently operating from Mehrabad International Airport, once the project is complete.   

Aeroports de Paris officials traveled to Tehran last month to get Iran’s green light for partnership in the development of the new terminal.

Representatives of about 200 French companies visited the Iranian capital along with Agriculture Minister Stephane Le Foll and Minister of State for Foreign Trade Matthias Fekl, looking to exploit trade opportunities in the country.

In July, France’s architectural firm AREP signed a $7 million deal for redevelopment of three main railway stations in Iran even before the conclusion of nuclear talks.

AREP, a subsidiary of France’s national railway company SNCF, will rebuild the stations in Tehran as well as the holy cities of Mashhad and Qom which attract millions of pilgrims every year.

The idea to build IKIA was conceived before the Islamic Revolution in 1979, with original designs prepared by a US consortium in order to make it a regional air travel hub but the airport was inaugurated only in May 2004.

Earlier this month, France’s AccorHotels signed an agreement in Tehran to run two hotels near IKIA, marking the first foray by a major foreign entity into the country’s hospitality market since 1979.

Under the deal, the group will manage four-star Ibis IKIA with 196 rooms and five-star Novotel IKIA with 296 rooms.

Iran’s Minister of Transportation and Housing Abbas Akhoundi visited International Paris Air Show in June on the invitation of the French government and met a number of officials.

Airbus has its eyes on Iran which plans a major renovation of its commercial aviation fleet.

The country could buy 80-90 planes per year from Airbus and Boeing when all hurdles on the way of normal trade were removed, acting head of the Civil Aviation Organization Mohammad Khodakarami said last month.

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