With Cyprus becoming an ever-popular tourist destination and the development of resorts such as Ayia Napa, Copral Bay, Limassol and Paphos itself, the capacity at the two Cypriot airports Lanarca and Paphos has been tested.
Paphos (ten miles from the town of Paphos) is the smaller of the two airports but still handles over 1.5 million passengers a year.
This was recognised as far back as 1988 by the Cypriot Government who put into action plans to develop both Paphos and Lanarca.
By November 2008 Paphos will receive a new terminal building and also a new runway extension allowing it to handle even the largest aircraft (Airbus A321 and Boeing 747-400). Passenger growth is now expected to be between 3.5% and 4% a year.
In 1991 the French company Sofreavia undertook the preparation of a master plan for the airport and by 1993 Aéroports de Paris and Sofreavia had prepared plans (construction drawings) for the development of the airport.
The new terminal is based on those original plans, which included a new terminal building, new control tower, and extension of aircraft parking apron. The expansion was to be undertaken in two phases with a capacity for two million passengers a year in the first phase and 2.7 million in the second phase.
A decision was made in 2000 to apply a Build Operate Transfer (BOT) contract to develop the airport. Pricewaterhouse Coopers were contracted to advise and to prepare the ground for bids and by 2001 five consortiums were invited to bid for the project.
The winning bidder for Paphos and Lanarca was Hermes Airports, a consortium of nine international and local companies including Bouygues Bâtiment International (22%), Egis Projects (20%), Cyprus Trading Corporation Public Limited (11.34%), Hellenic Mining (11.33%), Vancouver Airport Services (11%), Aer Rianta International (11%), Iacovou Brothers Construction (5.665%), Charilaos Apostolides Public Limited (5.665%) and Aéroport Nice Cote d’Azur Chambre de Commerce et d’Industrie (2%).
The concession was awarded for the airport over a period of 25 years and the cost for work at both airports is estimated at €645m.
The work at Paphos is currently approaching completion and by June 2008 the construction should be finished and the airport expansion will enter a testing phase until it finally opens for business in November 2008.
The airport will then be able to serve about 2.7 million passengers a year and will include: a new single storey passenger terminal with a floor space of 20,000m², 24 check-in desks (currently 16), six security screening positions, three baggage reclaim carousels and 800 car-park spaces (currently 150).
The airport runway (11/29) is also being extended from its current 2,700m to 3,100m allowing it to handle the largest aircraft. With the airport now being so popular with tourists visiting western Cyprus there is also a new four-lane highway to be constructed. This will link the town of Paphos with the airport so that the current routes, the B6 and the E603, will not become so congested during the tourist season.