Iran is in talks with a Chinese company to finance the $103m expansion of Qeshm International Airport.

Officials at Qeshm International Airport Company says that the talks are ongoing, but were unable to give the name of the Chinese company.

Qeshm is a small island located in the Straits of Hormuz about two kilometres off the southern coast of Iran.

The existing Qeshm International Airport has a capacity of just over one million passengers and the expansion will more than double the existing capacity.

The Iranian authorities hope that the expansion will increase foreign investment into the Qeshm free-zone.

The plan involves the construction of a second passenger terminal that will be 16,000 square metres, three air bridges, a hotel, restaurants and a second runway, Abbas Roozdar, airport operation deputy at Qeshm International Airport Company tells MEED.

New Zealand-based Airways International has completed the design of the project. The authorities are trying to increase the number of tourists travelling to Qeshm because visitors do not need a visa to enter the island as it is operated under as a free-zone.

Construction is likely to begin later in 2010 and will take three years to complete.

Qeshm airport went through a previous expansion in 2005 to increase its passenger-handling capacity to one million passengers a year from 150,000 (MEED 4:3:05).

Malaysia’s Leading Edge Aviation Planning Professionals carried out the design for the first expansion.