BISHKEK (TCA) — The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is providing loan and grant financing to Manas Airport, the main air gateway in Kyrgyzstan located 25 km of the capital Bishkek, for the modernization of the terminal building, the Bank said.
The airport operating company, MIA (International Airport Manas), will receive a loan of US$ 4.7 million and an investment grant of US$ 500,000 to address the growing demand for good quality airport services in Kyrgyzstan, and will assist the installation of a ventilation and heating system which complies with international best practice and energy efficiency standards.
The loan and grant agreements were signed on May 25 at the EBRD Headquarters in London by Natalia Khanjenkova, EBRD Managing Director, Central Asia and Russia and Emir Chukuev, Chairman of the Board of JSC Manas International Airport.
Manas, the main airport in the Kyrgyz Republic, serves the capital Bishkek and is used by some international airlines as a transit airport.
“We are very pleased to support this project, because it signals the start of cooperation between Manas and the EBRD. Regional connectivity, including modernisation of regional airports, is an important part of the Bank’s transport strategy as well as the overall transition agenda,” Natalia Khanjenkova said.
The project will also be the first time in Kyrgyzstan that a majority state-owned enterprise borrows funds without a sovereign guarantee.
“Development of airport infrastructure is one of the key strategic priorities in Kyrgyzstan. We believe cooperation with such a reputable international financial institution as the EBRD will facilitate Manas’s rapid growth and lay the foundation for future partnership,” Emir Chukuev said.
In addition, the EBRD will provide technical assistance to the airport to improve financial management and efficiency of operations, as well as energy efficiency standards.
The Manas airport started operation in 1974.
With the beginning of Operation Enduring Freedom, the United States and its coalition partners immediately sought permission from the Kyrgyz government to use the airport as a military base for operations in Afghanistan. Coalition forces arrived in Manas in late December 2001 and immediately the airport saw unprecedented expansion of operations and facilities.
The American forces christened the site “Ganci Air Base”, after New York Fire Department chief Peter J. Ganci, Jr., who was killed in the 11 September terrorist attacks. It was later given the official name of Manas Air Base, renamed Transit Center at Manas in 2009, and closed and handed over to Kyrgyz authorities in 2014.