A £66 million contract has been awarded for the construction of a new Passenger Handling Facility at RAF Akrotiri in southern Cyprus.
News Release, Whitehall, 10 July 2023: A £66 million contract has been awarded for the construction of a new Passenger Handling Facility at RAF Akrotiri in southern Cyprus.
The contract – awarded by the Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) and UK Strategic Command (UKStratCom) – will see the creation of a new terminal and freight buildings, known as the Passenger and Freight Handling Facility. It forms part of the APOLLO Programme, a UKStratCom and DIO programme to upgrade much of the infrastructure of MoD sites in Cyprus. RAF Akrotiri is an important military base which has supported a huge variety of operations including the recent evacuation of British nationals from Sudan.
As the island is in an earthquake zone, the programme is replacing or strengthening those buildings which are not seismically compliant, and in doing so is providing many improved and new facilities for service personnel and their families. The existing Passenger Handling Facility dates back to the 1960s and is no longer large enough to comfortably handle the number of people transported on modern RAF passenger aircraft. It was built for VC-10 Aircraft, which carried 131 passengers, but their replacement, RAF Voyagers, carry 291 passengers and 14 crew, meaning departure and arrival lounges are often crowded. The design also includes a bigger check in area with an additional check in desk and a larger security scanning area, as well as four, instead of two immigration desks.
Minister for Defence Procurement, James Cartlidge said: “RAF Akrotiri is an incredibly busy overseas base, supporting operations in the region and beyond – including the recent evacuation from Sudan – and this £66 million investment will significantly improve these facilities for our personnel and their families.
“I’m proud that our dedicated teams in the Defence Infrastructure Organisation and UK Strategic Command have kept up the momentum to continue upgrading our sites in Cyprus.”
Unlike the existing building, the new Passenger Handling Facility will include a basic aeromedical facility, where patients can be held while awaiting an onward flight. It has been designed to minimise energy use, using features such as solar control glazing and intelligent lighting controls, and will utilise solar PV renewable energy. Other sustainable features incorporated in the design include infrastructure for electric vehicle charging, rainwater harvesting and the use of Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems in the car park area. Construction is expected to commence later this year, with completion of the new facility planned for late 2026, and demolition of the existing building the following year.
Tracey Fuoco, Apollo Programme Director for the UK Strategic Command Infrastructure team said: “I am delighted that this project is now moving into the construction phase and would like to thank all of those involved for their hard work in getting us to this point. This project is part of a much wider APOLLO Programme of work to update the estate for our Service personnel and their families, who are living and working in Cyprus. I look forward to seeing the progress with the PHF project over the coming months.”
Chris Wood, DIO’s Project Manager, said: “It’s exciting to have awarded this contract for one of the largest projects the Apollo team will be undertaking as part of this programme. As well as reducing the earthquake risk to as low as we feasibly can, this new facility will be much more comfortable will operate more efficiently than the building it will replace. I look forward to continuing to work hand-in-glove with my colleagues in UK Strategic Command and industry to deliver this fantastic new facility.”
Heraclis Passades, Director of Cyprus Service Provider, said: “We are delighted to have been awarded the contract for the design and construction of the Passenger and Freight Handling Facilities at RAF Akrotiri. I would like to thank the MoD and DIO for entrusting us with this important project, and we look forward to closely collaborate with them in order to develop and deliver a final product that we will all be proud of.”
The project will also create hundreds of jobs in the area, with CSP employing personnel from across the island’s communities, as well as specialists from the UK. Supporting the Government’s priority to grow the economy, UK companies are also benefiting from this contract award. CSP has embarked on a joint programme with UK based design partner, Ridge and Partners LLP, to develop a full design for the facilities at RAF Akrotiri, and people, material and equipment will also be sourced within the UK market.
RAF Akrotiri is a very busy Permanent Overseas Operating Base, supporting operations in the region. It also supports military training and acts as a Forward Mounting Base. Recently the station supported the evacuation of British nationals from Sudan, with those evacuated taken to the station before being transported on to the UK.