This is the British airport operator Manchester Airport Group, which along with its partner in the face of the Chinese Beijing Construction Engineering Group will participate in the procedure, it became clear at a press conference today in the Sofia.
Their partner for the Bulgarian concession, BCEG, is in the top 250 of global contractors and one of its main projects is Daxin Airport in Beijing.
“Sofia is the city with the most underdeveloped potential,” said Andrew Harrison, Group Chief Executive Officer. According to him, the company has no other interests in the region than to win the concession for the Bulgarian airport, which guarantees its desire to develop it. His statement comes in the context of the Belgrade airport concession procedure in which MAG “refused to participate”.
He pointed out that traffic for London’s Stansted Airport grew by 45% and Manchester in 35% for 5 years. He did not go on to share plans for Sofia, but outlined three main reasons for wanting to invest in Bulgaria.
The first is that tourism is growing and Sofia is a “crown jewel” in this regard.
The second is the excellent geographic location of the capital, which makes it close to the East.
In his words, Sofia airport should not be in the shadow of the Turkish one, but on the contrary – to develop its own network for direct flights. Harrison also pointed out the possibility of investment and returns at the airport itself.
The company, however, refused to share specific plans for the development of the airport. According to Charlie Hornish, Chief Executive Officer, Sofia Airport does not need a third runway soon, as well as a third terminal.
Here, it is worth recalling that in the concession conditions there is the construction of such new facilities. It will be for 35 years and its total cost is estimated at nearly 3.9 billion euros.
One of its conditions is that the future concessionaire will invest a total of € 600 million, and MAG has just mentioned such a number of planned investments.
On the question of what competition they expect for the concession, the operator indicated that interest was from Turkey, France and Germany.