The Netherlands Airport Company (Naco) has started mobilising a consultancy team for the first phase of the Imam Khomeini Airport City (Ikac).

Naco won the five-year, multi-million dollar contract in December, beating offers made by Brazil’s Progen, Italy’s One-works, Germany’s Obermeyer and Canada’s Zas Group.

The initial phase of the project comprises a passenger terminal, which can handle up to 5 million passengers annually and another terminal that could handle between 20 and 22 million passengers a year. The design of a free trade zone is also included in the scope of phase 1.

The design for the airport city’s masterplan was completed in 2012 by Tehran-based Rah Shahr International Group in partnership with Japan’s Nikken Sikkei.

A source familiar with the deal said the existing design will serve as the basis and starting point for Naco’s consultancy work.

The planned 140 million-square-metre Ikac will feature a free zone, cargo facilities and residential communities, and could take up to 30 years to complete.

As well as an ageing aircraft fleet, Iran requires major investments in developing its airport infrastructure to accommodate consistently rising passenger growth, estimated at 6 per cent annually, and the new aircraft fleet it plans to procure.