Friday, August 13, 2010PRISTINA - Hürriyet Daily News
Limak Holding, a Turkish group with operations in tourism, energy, cement, technology and aviation, on Thursday signed a Public Private Partnership, or PPP, agreement with the Republic of Kosovo regarding expansion and operation of Pristina International Airport for 20 years.
With the agreement Limak becomes the first foreign company to obtain a contract since privatization started in the Republic of Kosovo. The agreement foresees an investment of 140 million euros. It will cover a modern, 27,000-square-meter terminal building that will provide world-class passenger comfort, a 77,000-square-meter apron and runway, a new traffic control tower, car park facilities with capacity for 1,750 vehicles and fuel tanks, and refurbishment of airport access roads.
Limak will be responsible for operating and maintaining the passenger terminal, car park, ground handling, fuelling and cargo areas, as well as the runway and apron facilities. The consortium will pay rental fees based on usage to the Republic of Kosovo in addition to its investments.
“We will do our best to support the growth of international investors in Kosovo,” Kosovo Minister of Economy Ahmet Shala told the Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review. “I am pleased to see that with this investment nearly 39 percent of the revenue will be paid to the Republic of Kosovo per annum.”
Target: 4 million passengers
“Our aim is to increase the number of passenger from 1.5 million to 4 million annually,” said Sezai Bacaksız, deputy chairman of Limak, at the press conference held at the Ministry of Economy in Pristina. “I want this project to bring prosperity to the Republic of Kosovo and its citizens."
Minister of Transportation and Telecommunication Fatmir Limaj, Shala and executives from Limak and Aeroports de Lyon attended the signing ceremony hosted by Prime Minister of Kosovo Hashim Thaci.
“The Limak Group of Companies, with 35 years of experience mainly in construction and infrastructure and with a strong track record in the fields of aviation, energy, cement, tourism and food production, has proven itself with success in the design, construction, financing and operation of the projects it has undertaken,” Bacaksız said.
“Limak is highly reputable with its strong capital and management structure, its diligence in just-in-time completion of both local and international projects and world-class technology,” he said. “We strongly believe our success in the construction and operation of Istanbul’s Sabiha Gökçen International Airport will be replicated in this project, which has high importance both for the Republic of Turkey and the Republic of Kosovo, where it is the first of its kind in Kosovo.”
Strategic way to Europe
Bacaksız said: “We also reckon that the project will create a high level of added value for the regional economy. We are proud of signing the concession agreement with the Republic of Kosovo covering 20 years of operation and expansion of the Pristina Airport. Kosovo will be our strategic gateway to Europe.”
Pristina Airport has a strategic role in Central Europe, with its high international traffic providing connections to many countries including Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Turkey, the UK, Hungary and Italy. Currently Turkish Airlines, Swiss Air, Austrian Airlines, Air Berlin, German Wings and many other major airlines use Pristina Airport.
A consortium of Limak, GMR Infrastructure Limited and Malaysia Airports Holding Berhad has been operating Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen International Airport since 2008 under the buy-operate-transfer model with a 20-year concession period. Sabiha Gökçen is the youngest greenfield airport in Europe and recorded the highest growth rate on the continent between 2002 and 2009. Sabiha Gökçen's new international terminal was constructed in a record time of 18 months.