Turkish, French firms invest 140 mln euros in Kosovo airport
Güneş Kömürcüler PRISTINA - Hürriyet Daily News
Turkish PM Erdoğan, Kosovo PM Thaci, Albania PM Rama, and a number of ministers and executives from three countries attend the opening ceremony of Pristina Adem Jashari International Airport in Kosovo built by Turkish-French consortium Limak-Aéroports de Lyon. AA photo. AA photoPristina Adem Jashari International Airport’s new airport terminal building and accompanying facilities, built by Turkish-French consortium Limak-Aéroports de Lyon, were opened yesterday with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Kosovo PM Hashim Thaci, Albania PM Edi Rama, and a number of ministers from three countries in attendance.
“It is pleasing to see Kosovo becoming more and more hopeful about the future day-by-day as Turkey was one of the first countries that recognized the independence of the Republic of Kosovo. Some 104 countries have now recognized the independence of the Republic of Kosovo, as my friend (Kosovo PM) Tachi just said to me,” Turkish PM Erdoğan said, adding that bilateral ties between Turkey and Kosovo were developing.
Kosovo PM Tachi said he is from a land which had had experienced oppression, conflicts and wars for years.
“It took many years for us to gain our independence. Now it is so good for us to see peace and growth flourishing here,” Tachi said.
“We are building Kosovo in our dreams,” he noted.
The Limak-Aéroports de Lyon consortium managed to secure the contract for the airport’s operation rights for 20 years, as well as for the construction of a new terminal building (and the accompanying facilities) in 2010. The consortium then became party to a privilege agreement with the Kosovo government to be able to build the facilities under the model: “build-operate-transfer.”
The project, costing over 140 million euros, included the construction of the latest terminal building and accompanying facilities, four passenger bridges and eight passenger gates. The opening of the new facilities will see an increase in the airport’s annual passenger capacity from 2 to 5 million, according to consortium representatives. The airport has already ranked third in the number of annual passengers among airports in the ex-Yugoslavian countries, after Belgrade and Zagreb airports.
Turkey to raise investments in Kosovo
Turkish companies have already invested up to 335 million euros in Kosovo, Erdoğan noted, adding that much more investments are under way, not only from Turkey, but also from many others.
“I am sure that Kosovo will continue to grow as part of NATO and the EU in the future,” Erdoğan said.
The Balkans will become a global center of peace and friendship in the future, he remarked, mentioning Turkey’s commitment in continuing to support Kosovo.
“Kosovo offers many investment opportunities to Turkish investors. Just after the launch of the new terminal at the airport, we’ll focus on developing a power grid to European standards with our Turkish partner, Çalık. Furthermore, we’ll invest more than 300 million euros in the grid over the next 15 years,” Limak Chairman, Nihat Özdemir said.
Limak is also part of a consortium which has the operation rights to Istanbul’s Sabiha Gökçen International Airport, and as well as another which won the contract to build Istanbul’s third airport at around 22 billion euros.
“Sabiha Gökçen Airport has become one the fastest growing airports in the world, reaching around 16 million passengers this year just after a couple of years of its construction. We are sure that Pristina Airport will become one of the most vital of Europe’s airports soon and receive awards in excellence, just as Sabiha Gökçen has,” Özdemir noted.