Visitors passing by LG stand during the Airport Show at Dubai World Trade Centre and Exhibition Halls, Dubai Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News

Dubai: TAV Group, the Turkish construction and airport operator conglomerate, is chasing projects in the UAE and Saudi Arabia, according to its top executive.

TAV is already involved in the construction of the Dh10.8 Midfield Terminal project at Abu Dhabi International and is investing $1.2 billion in Saudi’s Medina airport, which it operates.

Sani Sener, the group chief executive and president of TAV Airports Holding, said the company is looking at construction projects in Dubai and public–private partnerships in Saudi Arabia.

“There are also some other private concession projects coming in Saudi [Arabia],” he said.

Sener was speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the Gulf Airport Leaders Forum in Dubai earlier this week.

TAV Airports operates 14 airports across Europe, Turkey and the Middle East and is looking to expand its portfolio with a consortium bid for a tender at New York’s LaGuardia airport.

Sener added that the company “would like to be in African airports as well.”

While TAV has emerged as a major construction and airport operator player over the past decade, the Gulf represents a huge market for the company with oil-rich governments making sizeable investments in infrastructure.

“This is business. We are doing business as a Turkish company. We are always welcome in the UAE, Saudi and the region,” he said.

He added, “I don’t think there will be a problem.”

Last year, Abu Dhabi government-owned Taqa unexpectedly “suspended” a $12 billion (Dh44 billion) project to build power plants using lignite coal reserves in Turkey’s Afsin-Elbistan region. The Turkish government has previously accused Taqa of pulling the pin for “political reasons”.

But Sener is more wary of Iran, with many investors bullish on the market potential if the lifting of nuclear sanctions pave the way for foreign investment.

TAV was booted out of Iran in 2004 a year after winning an 11-year contract to operate terminal one at Tehran’s then new airport and build a second terminal. Iranian hardliners were reportedly opposed to a foreign firm holding a key role. TAV were later compensated by the Iranian government.

Sener said that he is “not interested” in Iran but admits he would look at a project “if there is a chance with the new government.”