Ternir Group USA LLC, an American-owned company (“Ternir Group”), and the Ministry of Transportation (the “MoT”) of the Kurdistan Regional Government (the “KRG”) are currently in negotiations that are expected to lead to an agreement for the development and construction of the first international airport to be located within the Governorate of Duhok (the “Project”). The parties to the negotiations have allocated approx. 700-1000 hectares of publicly-owned land for the Project, in a location which is just outside of the city of Duhok, the regional capital. Furthermore, the MoT has identified sources of preliminary public funding for the Project in the amount of at least 10% of the projected construction costs. Ternir Group has been invited by the MoT to assemble a team of investors, developers, construction & concessionaire companies and related service providers, the purpose of which will be to finance, build and operate the Airport on a concession basis.
The Duhok Governorate is one of the three constituent provinces of Iraq that make up the autonomous Kurdish Region of Northern Iraq. It has a population of over 2 million people, which is growing rapidly due to the return of displaced Kurds from other parts of Iraq, natural increase (50% of Kurdistan’ population is under the age of 20) and continued migration of Iraqi Arabs to superior job prospects and security in the north. The Duhok region is becoming a significant tourist destination within Iraq, due to its milder climate (in comparison with the rest of the country), high, snow-covered mountains, as well as numerous historical sites. The region also benefits from Iraqi Kurdistan’s growing oil & gas exploration industries (up to 30 large-scale concession agreements have already been signed between the KRG and foreign oil companies), its strategic location as a hub for trade between Turkey, Syria and the rest of Iraq, as well as increased investment in the retail, manufacturing and service sectors since 2003, most of which comes from nearby Turkey.
The Project takes into consideration the significant state of flux which characterizes the current economic situation within Iraqi Kurdistan, and, in particular, the Governorate of Duhok, after nearly a decade of strong economic growth. Currently, MoT planners and Ternir Group have agreed on a preliminary Project concept which balances the concerns of building large infrastructure projects into new markets, with the conviction that current demand is strong enough to warrant a small, one-terminal airport designed to accommodate domestic as well as international flights.
The Project currently foresees the construction of a 12,000 sqm terminal at a cost of approx. $50 million. The terminal will have 10 check-in desks, immigration facilities, press, tobacco, souvenirs & duty-free shops restaurant, cafes, mini market, bureau de change, banks, mosque, a modern baggage-handling system, and will feature 4 gates and/or direct bus access for both arrivals and departures. The main runway for the airport will be designed to handle medium-range aircraft, such as the Airbus A-320 (requiring a length of at least 2000 meters), and will have a cost of approx. $40 million. The airport will also have a state-of-the-art control tower, which will house the aerodrome control, approach radar control, avionics equipment, a workshop and other various rooms, ground lighting (AGL) equipment room and staff welfare facilities. The construction of the tower alone is expected to cost $6 million. Aviation equipment should cost another $4 million.
The Project is expected to take approx. three to five years to build.