A 650 million euro ($874.9 million) upgrade of Larnaca and Paphos airports has already started and represents Cyprus’ first Build, Operate and Transfer.
The international tender was won by Hermes Airports.
Hermes is to build new passenger terminals and extend the runways at both airports under a 25-year concession.
Work is reportedly on schedule, and Bob Manning, CEO of Hermes Airports, told Cyprus’ Financial Mirror that Larnaca “will be a world-class airport. Spectacular!” Manning was previously with Vancouver Airports.
Phase 1 of the new three-level 98,000sqm passenger terminal at Larnaca will have a design capacity for 7.5 million passengers a year, and is scheduled for opening in November 2009. The design is apparently intended to reflect the proportions of the medieval aqueduct on the outskirts of the city.
There will be a total of 16 passenger boarding bridges in a ‘finger’ design in the new terminal, capable of handling a range of aircraft from the Airbus A321 to the Boeing 747-400 Jumbo. Phase 2 will raise its capacity to 9 million, and the runway from 2,700m to 3,500m by 2013.
The Larnaca airport plans incorporate some solar power utilization, said Manning. “Hermes Airports wants to be and wants to be seen as a good environmental manager, “looking into anything that saves fuel and lowers emissions”.
Larnaca first opened as a commercial airport in 1975, developed hastily to cope with the fact that the island's main airport in the capital, Nicosia, was inaccessible following the Turkish invasion of the north of the island in 1974.
Since then, it has been subject to a number of extensions and upgrades. When it first opened it was designed to handle 2.5 million passengers a year. Some six million now pass through it each year. The arrivals hall was expanded in February 2006; two luggage belts were added, bringing the total to six. A larger lounge and a smoking area were also added.
In 2005, 5.2 million passengers passed through Larnaca airport (from 48,056 aircraft movements); 37,529 tonnes of cargo were handled in the same period.
The new Paphos terminal, scheduled for opening in November 2008, will be able to handle 2.7 million passengers a year and the airport runway will be extended to 3,100 metres. Paphos International Airport (15 km east of Paphos town) was opened in 1983 to facilitate development of the western part of the island. It has faced some problems in terms of lack of capacity, however the major problem is the seasonality of its traffic. There is little demand for flights to Paphos in the winter months.
By Gina Coleman
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