YEREVAN (RFE/RL)–Construction of a new terminal at Armenia’s main international airport began on Monday by the Argentine Corporacion America Company managing the project.
Representatives of the Argentine company and Armenian government ministers inaugurated the start of construction–describing it as the first stage of the reconstruction of Zvartnots airport–which is to conform to international standards with the completion of the project. The airport’s commercial director Juan-Pablo Guechigian–said the project would cost at least $42 million.
Justice Minister David Harutiunian–who oversees project implementation–said the new three-story building is slated for completion by 2007–and added that its ground floor–available for passenger use–will be ready at the end of next year–as well as construction of the upper floors.
Argentinean Armenian Eduardo Eurnekian–who operates 33 airports across South America–owns Corporacion America which signed a 30-year management contract with the Armenian government in December 2001 and took over Zvartnots several months later.
Officials in Yerevan said earlier that the reconstruction will enable Zvartnots to handle at least 1.2 million passengers a year. Up to 800,000 people presently arrive at and depart from the airport each year. Eurnekian reportedly looks to transform the airport into a major transit hub for long-haul flights between Europe and Asia.