“Our first priority is development of Mashhad International Airport. We are in serious talks over the development project. Development of Isfahan International Airport is our second priority,” Hossein Esfandiari was also quoted as saying by the Ministry of Roads and Urban Development’s news portal.
The French company signed a memorandum of understanding for the development of Mashhad International Airport, also known as Shahid Hashemi Nejad International Airport, on the sidelines of a business forum held in Tehran last week.
French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault, who was accompanied by a 100-member economic delegation, attended the forum.
Vinci had previously signed a preliminary agreement with Iran for the development of the airport as well as that of Isfahan International Airport during President Hassan Rouhani’s visit to France in January last year.
Vinci is a French concessions and construction company founded in 1899. With a workforce of over 179,000, the firm is the largest construction company in the world by revenue.
According to Esfandiari, the French company will build a 43,000-square-meter international terminal and a 25,000-square-meter domestic terminal in Mashhad International Airport.
“The airport’s apron should also be expanded in line with the development of the terminals,” he said, adding that cooperation will be based on a build-operate-transfer contract.
According to Iran Airports Company’s CEO Rahmatollah Mahabadi, the capacity of Mashhad International Airport is estimated to reach 5 million passengers per year after the two terminals become operational.
Mashhad, the capital city of Khorasan Razavi Province in northeastern Iran, is a major international religious tourism hub visited by millions of pilgrims every year.
In the Iranian year ending March 20, 2015, the holy city was visited by 25 million domestic and 1.5 million foreign visitors.
The city’s aviation infrastructure, however, has not kept pace with its booming tourism sector, which is the case with most Iranian airports, including Isfahan International Airport and Tehran’s Mehrabad International Airport.
Earlier this year, IAC signed an MoU with Italy for the construction of a new passenger terminal in Tehran’s Mehrabad International Airport.
The MoU is between the Iranian airport and Italy’s SEA Group (Società Esercizi Aeroportuali), which is in charge of development and management of Italy’s Milano Malpensa airports and airport systems, including all services and activities related to the arrival and departure of aircraft, airport safety, passenger and cargo handling, and development of commercial services.
In the first phase, an 80,000-square-meter passenger terminal will be constructed. It could be expanded to 120,000 square meters in the future as demand grows, the agreement stipulates.
Mehrabad’s current capacity is to handle 14 million passengers annually. The new terminal will add the same amount of passengers to the airport’s capacity.
The plan, which is estimated to require €250 million in investment, also includes landscaping and construction of parking space for 6,000 vehicles alongside the passenger terminal.
Revamping Iran’s airports is a top priority for the administration of President Hassan Rouhani, which engineered a deal with world powers to resolve a longstanding dispute over Tehran’s nuclear energy program and remove sanctions imposed for years on the country’s aviation industry.
During Rouhani’s France visit, Iran also reached agreements with Aeroports de Paris and Bouygues SA for cooperation in the construction of a new terminal at Imam Khomeini International Airport. The Ministry of Roads and Urban Development plans to increase IKIA’s capacity to 45 million passengers per year.
A €50 million investment agreement has also been signed with Vitali SPA—an Italian construction firm and general contractor—to develop Tabriz International Airport, in the provincial capital of northwestern East Azarbaijan Province.
The agreement concerns investment, design and construction of a new passenger terminal in Tabriz airport in two development phases. In the first phase, the terminal is estimated to be built on a 20,000-square-meter area to accommodate the landing of one wide-body and two average-body aircraft at the same time.
IAC manages 54 airports across Iran.