Cost of new Crete airport lower than expected

Crete airport construction

Greek construction firm GEK Terna and India's GMR Airports Limited have offered to build the Kasteli airport on the island of Crete for 480 million euros, well below the price initially budgeted by the Transport Ministry, Greek officials said Tuesday.

The Transport Ministry had initially earmarked 850 million euros for the airport, which will be Greece's fourth largest and will replace the ageing Iraklio airport which struggles to handle some 2.6 million tourists every year.

The bid, the only one received by Greece, relates to the construction and operation of the airport. It also foresees that the Greek government's contributions to the project to be lower at 180 million euros, versus the 220 million euros previously expected.

The offer needs to be assessed by a state audit committee and approved by parliament before coming into affect.