A new international airport costing more than 1 billion euros will be built on Crete with the ability to serve 5,000 holidaymakers at a time and serve as a transport hub for air cargo in the eastern Mediterranean, the government said yesterday. Transport Minister Michalis Liapis and Merchant Marine Minister Manolis Kefaloyiannis said that the project would be completed in the next eight to 10 years and will cost 1.1 billion euros, some of which will be provided by private investors. The area of Kasteli, near Iraklion in northern Crete, has been chosen as the site for the airport. It will replace the troubled Nikos Kazantzakis Airport in Iraklion – the second-busiest Greek airport with some 5 million passengers passing through it each year – which is close to built-up areas and is overstretched during the peak tourist season as more charter flights arrive there than at any other airport in Greece. The new airport will be a 26-minute drive from Iraklion center. At 70,000 square meters, it will be almost double the size of Nikos Kazantzakis Airport.