Some European firms ‘may oppose’ 3rd airport in Istanbul

Some European firms ‘may oppose’ 3rd airport in Istanbul

ANKARA – Anadolu Agency
Some European firms ‘may oppose’ 3rd airport in Istanbul

Turkish Transport Minister Yıldırım says the global aviation sector dominated by the US and Europe dominated before, but now Eastern countries, including Turkey. DAILY NEWS photo, Serkan OCAK

The Transport Minister Binali Yıldırım said some European companies may want to create some obstacles before the third airport in Istanbul is built. This new airport will have a high capacity for passengers and the government is taking all measures against any preventions.

“Turkey has become an air transfer hub, replacing some European cities. Some European companies really worked a lot to seal the contract of the planned third airport, to take the opportunity, but a Turkish consortium did,” he said.

In this vein, some European companies may ask some banks to not provide loans for the consortium, he noted.

“I don’t think any European government will involve in such an intervention, which is also against diplomatic rules. We however experienced some financial obstacles from some foreign finance firms as they used some historical incidents or environmental problems as an excuse to not provide loans for some big projects. So it will not be surprising for us to face such obstacles with the third airport project, but we are taking all measures against such a possibility,” he said.

Yıldırım has said that there would be some dramatic changes in the global aviation sector since 2008.

The U.S. and Europe dominated the sector before, but now Eastern countries, including Turkey, are rising. Turkey takes part in a crucial role as a regional hub in the midst of the movement of wealth from the West to the Far East, he noted.

He said that European companies would not lose due to this project.

“Turkish Airlines and Germany-based Lufthansa, for example, may enhance more cooperation rather than compete harshly against some airlines which are strongly supported by their states, like Qatar Airways,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Cengiz-Kolin-Limak-Mapa-Kalyon Consortium, a joint venture of Turkish companies, won a tender for the third airport in Istanbul in May, promising to pay the state 22.1 billion euros (plus taxes) for 25 years starting 2017.

Environmental impact analysis of project

Yıldırım also said he found some claims saying the third airport project would not have an environmental assessment report (ÇED).

“There is nothing, like the project, that is exempt from the ÇED report. The ÇED approval of the project was taken before the tender,” he said, adding that the planned Istanbul-İzmir Highways project was only exempt from such approvals because this project had been on the table before 1990.

Meanwhile the ÇED report for the third airport project in Istanbul said last April the total number of trees in the area is 2,513,341 and 657,950 of them will need to be cut indispensably while 1,855,391 of the trees will be moved to new places, the minister of Forestry said earlier.

“All procedures for the third airport project to be launched are complete. The only remaining task is to establish a company for the project. After the consortium presents their proposals to set up this company with us in one month, other works will start in a couple of months,” he said.

Yıldırım noted that the third bridge on the Bosphorus will be finalized by 2015, which is a world record, and the Marmaray project will be open to service on Oct. 29, as promised before.