Turkey aims to announce a tender competition for the construction of a third airport in Istanbul this month with a view to completing the bidding by the end of 2012 after spending 18 months choosing the site.
Transport Minister Binali Yıldırım told reporters late on Wednesday plans for the project were now with the state planning committee (DTP), but tender documents would be published in August as soon as they had issued final approval.
"As soon as it comes and if this is within August we will announce the tender. If everything goes well we will have what we need to complete the tender by the end of the year, and take the necessary steps for construction to begin," Yıldırım said.
The airport is due to open by 2015 with an initial capacity to handle 90 million passengers a year, extending eventually to 150 million passengers, and three runways for simultaneous use. Yıldırım said 80 percent of the site's land would be public land, the rest would be bought by the state from private owners.
Turkey's privatization and infrastructure tendering programme has been hit by a wave of delays this year as the global funding crunch has reduced firms' ability to take on new projects. In late June Turkey extended for the second time the bidding deadline for a highways and bridges tender to October 31 from August 9.
In 2011 the number of tourists arriving in Turkey rose by almost 10 percent to 31.46 million. Turkey aims to host 50 million tourists a year by 2023, the centenary of the founding of the Turkish state.