TAV acquires control of Sabiha Gökçen Airport, extending influence to Istanbul’s Asian side
Turkey-based global airport operator TAV has signed an agreement with Limak Group for the acquisition of a 40-percent share in Istanbul’s Sabiha Gökçen Airport.Turkey-based global airport operator TAV has signed an agreement with Limak Group for the acquisition of a 40-percent share in Istanbul’s Sabiha Gökçen Airport, located on the Asian side of the city.
Upon the closing of this transaction, TAV and Malaysia Airports will become partners with equal rights in the management of Sabiha Gökçen Airport, the company announced in a Sept. 15 statement.
“If Malaysia Airports does not use its right of first refusal, we will begin making contributions to the operations at Sabiha Gökçen, after receiving the required approvals,” TAV Airports CEO and President Sani Şener said.
The deal would place TAV as the top controller of Istanbul’s flight traffic. The airport mogul also operates Atatürk Airport, Istanbul’s largest, which faces uncertainty as a new airport has been planned for the European side.
“Becoming a partner at Sabiha Gökçen Airport is a bold strategic move for TAV, as Atatürk Airport is planned to be closed when the new airport will be put into service in Istanbul,” Şener said.
“It is the responsibility of TAV senior management to anticipate the termination of our Atatürk Airport operation by finding the opportunity to extend our footprint in Istanbul and to benefit fully from Istanbul’s traffic growth potential until at least 2030,” he was quoted in the company statement.
The third airport’s construction began in June. It is expected to become operational by 2016, despite looming delays caused by financial and environmental setbacks.
Limak, the Turkish contractor company owned by Nihat Özdemir, is also one of the five members of the consortium that won the construction and operation bid for the third airport.
The construction of the third airport, which is being built in a forested area of northern Istanbul close to the city’s last reservoirs, was awarded for 22.1 billion euros to a consortium of Cengiz, Kolin, Limak, Mapa and Kalyon in May 2013.
In his remarks, Şener said the deal was a win-win situation for all sides, as “Limak also aspires to focus on that [third airport] project.”
The CEO also stated that having a presence in both Istanbul airports will allow the company to raise productivity and enhance its services to airlines and passenger clients.
He also stressed TAV’s excitement for working with Malaysia Airports.
“I am really looking forward joining our forces to those of Malaysia Airports, one of the most prominent airport operators in the world, and to contribute with our respective know-hows and assets to further accelerate the development of Sabiha Gökçen,” Şener said.
“We are convinced there could be further collaborations beyond Sabiha Gökçen with Malaysia Airports on other projects,” he added.
As the leading airport operator in Turkey, TAV operates the Istanbul Atatürk, Ankara, İzmir and Antalya airports, as well as others in Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Macedonia, Georgia and Latvia.