The new international airport of Heraklion in Crete will be up and running by the end of 2025. The first of the major projects that will upgrade the infrastructure of the island, corresponding to an investment of about 520 million euros, will replace the existing, overburdened “Nikos Kazantzakis” airport.

Today the project is progressing at a fast pace, but was saddled with numerous bureaucratic hurdles from 2009 when the bidding process began until its ratification by Parliament in May 2019. After new delays, the concession began in 2020.

Start of work

Since then several events have taken place, including the serious earthquake that hit the area. After a series of approvals from various agencies, such as ministries, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), independent engineers, as well as a change in regulations, the construction work related to the building facilities is expected to begin within the summer.

The new international airport in Kastelli will be the second most visited airport in Greece, with a capacity of up to 18 million visitors per year, during the 37-year concession. It is noted that in the period 2016-2019, the current airport’s traffic surged from 6 to 8.2 million passengers. At the same time, Kastelli will be the only airport that is expected to be built in the Southeastern Mediterranean in the next twenty years, highlighting Crete as an important regional hub between Asia, Europe and Africa.

The plan envisages the creation of the new airport in an area of ​​600 hectares, with a runway length of 3.2 km and the possibility of its expansion to 3.8 km., while staff for the construction, supervision and coordination of the works are expected to top 180. During the operation period, it is estimated that approximately 7,000-7,500 direct jobs will be created, as well as 35,000-37,000 indirect jobs.

Heraklion: At the end of 2025, the new airport in Kastelli opens its wings
An investment of around 520 million euros EIB.

Resolving the property is the biggest challenge for the development of the prime property that currently houses the airport of Heraklion “Nikos Kazantzakis”. The maturation of the project has been undertaken by the Strategic Contracts Unit (PPF) of the Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund. The area, 1/3 of which belongs to the Municipality of Heraklion and over 50 hectares belong to the Ministry of National Defense, will become available with the opening of the new International Airport in Kastelli.

The renovation of the 280 hectares property is a link in the chain for the loan agreement with the EIB for the financing with 180 million euros of the contribution of the Greek State to the project of Kasteli. As it was pointed out, in fact, at the signing of the contract, the renovation is an integral part of the terms of the EIB loan.