Source: Novosti/Blic | Saturday, 06.01.2018.| 14:20
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French company Vinci Airports given concession of Nikola Tesla Airport – Government of Serbia accepts offer of EUR 501 million

Nikola Tesla Airport (Photo: saiko3p/shutterstock)
The French company Vinci Airport will run the Belgrade Nikola Tesla Airport over the next 25 years, the Government of Serbia confirmed for Novosti. They offered EUR 501 million for the biggest airport in Serbia and obliged to invest an additional EUR 732 million in the development of the airport in the upcoming period. The annual concession fee will amount to EUR 16 million.

The government held an extraordinary session on Friday, January 5, 2018, and the only item on the agenda was the analysis of the decision made by the Expert Team for the awarding of the concession. Following the session, the offer was also considered by the Supervisory Board of the Nikola Tesla Airport.

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said on Saturday, January 6, 2018, while visiting the construction site at the National Museum, that the concession of the Belgrade Airport to the French company was a great success for Serbia.

– This means that Serbia has advanced since five years ago. At that time, we were considering a concession of the airport and we were told that we could get a maximum of 40 to 50 million euros for a pre-paid program of 25 years – Vucic said and added that the total value of the concession was EUR 1.468 billion.

As he pointed out, Vinci Airports promised not to lay off the workers and the company obliges not to increase the airport fee, that is, not to raise the landing and handling fee over the next three years.

Vucic pointed out that the Government of Serbia would get EUR 417 million of budget revenues, whereas the citizens of Serbia – small shareholders – would get EUR 84 million.

– We have asked for an opinion and approval of the national airline, Air Serbia, about which company would be the best choice according to them. The expert commission negotiated with the French about many things, for example, about horizontal conveyor belts – the president of Serbia said and cited certain segments of the negotiations with Vinci.

Vucic pointed out that this was one of the most important companies from one of the strongest countries of the EU, which will enable the Nikola Tesla Airport to reach the number of 15 million passengers. According to him, there will be 7.9 million passengers as soon as 2024 and ten million in 2030.

Vinci runs 35 airports in seven states on three continents – 12 in France, ten in Portugal, six in the Dominican Republic, three in Cambodia, two in Japan and one each in Chile and Brazil.

The company said on Sunday, January 7, 2018, that they expected the agreement on concession to be signed in the first quarter of the year, when they are to take over the running of the Belgrade Airport officially. As said in the first press release, the aim of Vinci Airport is to improve the conditions of the airport's operations in order to enable Air Serbia to offer new flights on longer routes as part of its main strategy.

CEO of Vinci Concessions and President of Vinci Airports, Nicolas Notebaert, stated that the Belgrade Airport will be the the French company's seat in central and eastern Europe.

– This success marks a new phase of the expansion of Vinci Airports outside of France. The Belgrade Nikola Tesla Airport will be the company's seat in central and eastern Europe, the region in which Vinci Airports have not operated so far – Notebaert said.

As added in the press release, Vinci will be building partnerships with over 200 airlines in order to further increase the traffic and the connectivity of the airport in line with Serbia's strong economic growth potential. It will also use important experiences in the domain of airport management and development expertise acquired in France a abroad in order to enhance the total client experience at the airport, “especially by reorganizing and optimizing passenger flows and expanding retail areas”.

Let us remind that the procedure of the selection of the concessionaire took almost 11 months and consisted of several phases. The public invitation was placed back in February 10, 2017, by the Government of Serbia and the Nikola Tesla Airport. As many as 27 offers were sent for the pre-qualification contest in March, and companies from all corners of the glove showed interest, among them four from China and three each from Turkey and Russia.

Only four players remained in the second round, however. The bids were sent by the Swiss-French consortium of the Zurich Airport and the companies Eiffage and Meridiam Eastern Europe Investments, the Indian-Greek consortium of GMR Infrastructure ltd and Terna, the French company Vinci Airports and the South Korean-Turkish-Cypriot consortium of Incheon International Airport Corporation, Yatirimlari ve Islatme and VTB Capital Infrastructure.

Throughout the phases of the procedure, the deadlines were extended several times, and the final decision was postponed three times.

The concession is given for financing, development through construction and reconstruction, maintenance and management of the airport`s infrastructure and performing the activities of an operator.

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