Turkey’s Limak is Taking its Airport Construction Services to New Markets

Kevin Rozario


July 26, 2023

mod LR limak Kuwait Airport concept

Kuwait International’s new terminal (KIA-T2) will increase capacity to 25 million passengers per year.

© Limak Construction

With the global travel industry experiencing a resurgence, there is a surge in demand for airport expansion, renovations, and greenfield construction. Limak Construction, part of the Limak Group of Companies, is taking advantage of this and hopes to open up a new market in Europe: Ireland.

As Turkey’s second-largest international contractor (according to ENR Top 250 International Contractor ranking—and 50th overall in the list), Limak has established a global reputation for its operations since its inception in 1976. The company’s expertise extends to superstructure projects such as airports, ports, highways, and dams, and the company's portfolio encompasses industries from hydroelectric power and treatment plants to integrated cement factories and hotels.

Limak is looking to expand within Europe and beyond in airport construction and/or operations. It has the credentials as it is ranked third in ENR’s list of international contractors in airports.

The company’s portfolio of successful projects is comprehensive. It has expertise in build-and-design and has successfully executed multiple PPP airport funding programs. Now it is aiming for the Irish market through North Apron and South Apron construction projects at daa-operated Dublin Airport, Ireland’s only hub. Limak hopes to be shortlisted for these key infrastructure contracts in due course.

Aviation Track Record

Four of Limak’s airport construction projects are outlined below demonstrating different aspects of the company’s abilities in the sector.

In 2016, Limak Construction was awarded the tender to build Kuwait International’s (KWI) new terminal (KIA-T2) in 2016, the largest tender won by a Turkish contractor abroad in a single package. The company is working with the UK’s Foster & Partners on the project which aims to significantly increase capacity to 25 million passengers per year.

The terminal is targeting LEED gold status and will utilize solar energy through roof-mounted solar panels and the thermal properties of concrete construction. The building will have the capacity to serve 21 Code F (A380) aircraft and 9 Code C (A320) planes, or rearranged to serve 51 Code C jets through the Multiple Aircraft Ramp System (MARS).

The terminal’s construction includes galvanized roofing, a glass frontispiece, and explosion-proof features, with over one million cubic meters of concrete and over 150,000 tons of structural steel. It is hoped that the KIA-T2 project will make KWI a leading global hub.

Meanwhile, on home turf, Limak was part of the joint venture group awarded the tender for the construction and operation of Istanbul Airport (IST) in May 2013, one of the world’s largest aviation projects. The gateway opened in October 2018 and covers an area of 76.5 million square meters and will eventually have six independent runways when all phases are completed.

The first part of the first phase includes the main terminal building serving 90 million passengers annually, two runways, and ancillary facilities. IST boasts more than 500 check-in points and 228 passport points, designed to minimize waiting times.

The airport is equipped with cutting-edge technology including smart systems and advanced GSM infrastructure. The ATC tower and terminal building have both received prestigious awards for their design and architecture. IST is also the first and only project in Turkey’s aviation sector to receive the ISO 14001:2015 Environment Management System certificate.

mod limak Kuwait Airport current progress

Construction progress at Kuwait Airport.

© Limak Construction

Through the Limak-GMR-MAHB partnership, Limak also participated in the construction of the new international terminal building of Istanbul’s Sabiha Gökçen International Airport (SAW) in 2008. The construction was initially planned for 30 months, however, it was completed ahead of schedule and in service by October 31, 2009.

The terminal is the largest seismically-isolated building in the world and was recognized as one of the five safest airports by Risk Management magazine, a prestigious U.S. publication, based on surveys conducted in 2010.

Shortly afterwards in Egypt, Limak signed a contract with Cairo Airport Company in 2011 for a renovation and capacity-increase project at Cairo International Airport (CAI), with a provisional acceptance in 2016. This was the first international transportation project funded by a World Bank loan after the 2011 revolution.

The work involved the construction of 370,000 square meters of apron, taxiways, and connection roads plus 230,000 square meters of indoor space including the new terminal building integrated with Terminal 3, a hotel building, and a new pier block.

Other features were a power center and fuel hydrant system, and the supply and installation of state-of-the-art technology including 28 mobile passenger bridges, a luggage handling system, private security, and ICT systems.

mod limak ireland seat capacity summer 23 v2

Expected summer capacity recovery in Ireland (April to October 2023).

© Failte Ireland

Geographical Reach

Limak has also engaged in a Build-Operate-Manage-Transfer PPP contract for Pristina International Airport (PRN) and is currently operating the gateway serving the Kosovan capital, and the country. The company has also constructed, and is currently operating, Dakar’s Blaise-Diagne International Airport (DSS) in Senegal, and is involved in the construction and renovation of various airports in Turkey.

In Ireland, Limak says it will continue the partnership approach it has used in past construction projects. “Collaborating with local stakeholders, Limak aims to contribute to Ireland's economic growth and job creation,” said a company spokesperson.

As Limak sets its sights on Europe and the United Kingdom, it is flagging its airport expertise in order to make what it describes as a “significant impact on the continent's aviation infrastructure.” Ireland’s tourism market is growing again. Summer capacity is expected to exceed that of pre-pandemic 2019, presenting Limak with a perfect opportunity to showcase its construction capabilities by helping to build up the nation's aviation infrastructure at just the right moment.