The Environment and Public Works Ministry said yesterday it is inviting investors to bid for a concession to build and manage a 1-billion-euro airport on Crete. The government will contribute 220 million euros toward the construction of the new facility at Kastelli, which will replace the existing airport at Iraklio, Crete’s biggest city, Environment Minister Giorgos Souflias said in a statement yesterday. The government will hold a 55 percent stake in the new airport’s operating company. The winning bidder, which will provide the bulk of the funding, will have the remaining 45 percent and operate the airport for 35 years. The new airport will have the capacity to handle between 5.5 and 10 million passengers per year and is projected to start operations in 2015, Souflias said. Meanwhile, a government privatization committee gave the green light yesterday to plans to separate DESFA, the country’s gas grid manager, from DEPA, the natural gas company. The government will ask both companies to proceed with a capital restructuring and return of capital to shareholders, a statement from the Economy and Finance Ministry said.