Economy, Business And Markets

Italy to Upgrade Iranian Airports

Italy to Upgrade Iranian Airports Italy to Upgrade Iranian Airports

Director of Iran Airports Company Rahmatollah Mahabadi has revealed the details of a memorandum of understanding signed between Iran and Italy recently 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 future as demand grows,” Mahabadi was quoted as saying by the Ministry of Roads and Urban Development’s news portal.

He noted that the terminal will increase the airport’s capacity considerably.

“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,” he said.

“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.”

  Biggest Airport Project Since 1979

Mahabadi referred to the investment agreement as “the biggest development project in Iran’s airport sector since the 1979 Islamic Revolution”, which marked the beginning of international sanctions on Iran’s aviation industry.

However, now that the sanctions are lifted, revamping Iran’s airports is a top priority for the government as “only 10 out of 67 airports of the country are currently operating efficiently”, according to Minister of Roads and Urban Development Abbas Akhoundi.

During President Hassan Rouhani’s late-January visit to Paris, Iran signed an agreement with French aviation giant Airbus to provide the Islamic Republic with information regarding airport upgrades.

According to an agreement, Airbus is to support the modernization of Iran’s air traffic control services, airport operations and aircraft maintenance, and assist regulatory harmonization and technical and academic training of Iranian airmen.

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 plans to increase IKIA’s capacity to 45 million passengers per year.

Moreover, French construction company Vinci SA signed an outline agreement to run and renovate airports in Mashhad and Isfahan.

“We have reached an agreement with a foreign company to invest in the construction of a 50,000-square-meter international terminal for Mashhad Airport to raise its capacity to 5 million passengers per year,” Mahabadi said earlier, without elaborating on the details of the agreement.

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—a considerable increase over the previous year.

This is while the city’s air infrastructures have not kept pace with its booming tourism sector, which is the case for most Iranian airports, according to IAC’s CEO.

  Vitali to Develop Tabriz Airport

Mahabadi also touched on a €50 million investment agreement 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 aircrafts at the same time.

The agreement, which also concerns technology transfer and restructuring and modernization of airport infrastructures of Iran, was signed between Iran Airports Company—the government-affiliated holding company that manages 54 airports—and Vitali during the second Iran-Italy Business Forum in Tehran on April 13.

The forum was attended by Italy’s Prime Minister Matteo Renzi and his accompanying 250-strong high-ranking business delegation of top Italian economic players, bank representatives and industrialists.

In addition to the agreement on aviation sector, Tehran and Rome signed 11 other MoUs in the fields of energy, steel, telecommunications and medicine during the event, which was also attended by Iranian Minister of Industries, Mining and Trade Mohammad Reza Nematzadeh, as well as high-ranking officials and representatives of the Iranian public and private sector businesses.

Tehran-Rome trade stood at about €7 billion in 2010, making Italy the largest trading partner of Iran among European nations. But the enforcement of international sanctions on Iran made it hard for Italy to maintain the high level of transactions and bilateral trade fell to €1.6 billion in 2014.