TEHRAN, May 6, YJC - Iran has canceled a preliminary agreement with the French industrial group Bouygues to expand the Imam Khomeini International Airport (IKIA) south of Tehran, an official said.
TEHRAN, Young Journalists Club (YJC) -
The company had signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) in January 2016 to build and operate a terminal at IKIA to handle 20 million passengers a year.
Managing Director of IKIA Airport City Company Mahmoud Navidi said Saturday that Bouygues had failed to fulfill its commitments under the agreement.
"The MoU had seven paragraphs under which it was decided that the French company fulfill them in various financial, technical and other areas in four months and submit their documents to us so that talks to invest in the terminal continue.
"However, the company was not able to fulfill these seven paras in the preliminary agreement. Hence, about four months ago in a written letter, we announced to the French company that the agreement had been cancelled," Navidi said.
On Friday, Bouygues spokesman Mathieu Carre said the MoU "is now void but there are still ongoing discussions with Iranian authorities.”
According to online newspaper La Lettre de l'Expansion, the project was hindered by the company's struggle to get financial backing from international banks, which are still fearful of punitive US measures despite the lifting of sanctions on Tehran.
Aeroports de Paris, initially Bouygues' partner for the $2.8 billion development plan, pulled out of the project in February.
Another French construction group Vinci signed initial deals last January to build the extension of Iran's Mashhad and Isfahan airports, the country's second and fifth biggest hubs.
IKIA, about 40 kilometers southwest of the Iranian capital, currently handles 6 million air travelers.
Navidi said after the cancellation of Bouygues' agreement, Iran put out calls for investment in the terminal which received a warm welcome from Iranian and foreign companies.
"Currently, 50 domestic and foreign companies have announced readiness to invest in the Iranshahr terminal in the form of BLT (build, lease and transfer)," he said, Fars news agency reported.
The idea to build IKIA was conceived before the Islamic Revolution in 1979, with original designs prepared by a US consortium in order to make it a regional air travel hub but the airport was inaugurated only in May 2004.
In December 2015, Iran awarded the development of a town in the vicinity of IKIA to the Netherlands Airport Consultant Company (NACO).
NACO undertook to provide consulting services for the development of Phase 1 of IKIA Airport Town for a period of five years.
France’s AccorHotels opened Novotel and Ibis near IKIA in September 2016 with the participation of business leaders and representatives of 150 aviation companies such as Airbus, Bombardier and Embraer.
French-based Airbus also struck a $19 billion sale deal last year to give 100 commercial aircraft to Iran. The multinational European company has already delivered three planes.