Bulgaria to Pick Sofia Airport Concession ConsultantBusiness | May 10, 2011, Tuesday // 09:46| views
A passenger walks in the departure hall of Sofia airport, Bulgaria. Photo by EPA/BGNES
Bulgaria's government plans to hire a consultant to advise it on how to proceed with plans to offer on concession Sofia Airport, the largest international airport in the country.
The consultant will be expected to provide a business model for the concession and ways to cover the Kuwait Development Fund and EBRD loans, which were extended for the construction of a new terminal and a new runway, the ministry said.
It assured that the airport will be granted on concession only if the new owner can guarantee a boost in revenues.
Major international transport companies have declared interest in the concessions of Sofia International Airport, the Transport Ministry announced at the end of last month.
The largest Bulgarian airport will most likely be in private hands at the beginning of 2012.
The Ministry is set to work out the conditions for the concession tender within the next 3-4 months, and the tender itself will be announced before the end of the year.
The future private concessionaire is supposed to keep all of the employees of the Sofia International Airport, to invest heavily in its modernization and development, and to cover its existing loans.
Thus, the future concessionaire that will most likely get to manage the airport for at least 30 years, will have to assume the current debts amounting to BGN 100 M, and will be required to invest at least BGN 120 M, including in new cargo, VIP, and business terminals.
At present, Terminal 1 has a capacity of 1.8 million passengers per year, while Terminal 2 built in 2006, has a capacity of 2.6 million passengers per year. According to Nikolay Kabakchiev, deputy director of the airport, the total capacity will be reached within 3-4 years since at present the Sofia International Airport gets about 3.5 million passengers per year.
The final approval of the tender for the concession procedure will be granted once the Ministry of Transport, IT and Communications drafts a detailed economic analysis of the requirements for the potential concession.
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