Bulgaria’s Transport Ministry said on October 3 that it has extended the deadline for bids in the tender for the 35-year concession on Sofia Airport by one month to November 22.
The bids are due in by 4.30pm Sofia time and would be opened at 9am on November 23. The ministry did not give a reason for its decision.
The announcement came just hours after Manchester Airports Group (MAG) became the first operator to officially registered its interest, saying it would bid in consortium with China’s state-owned Beijing Construction Engineering Group.
MAG operates the Manchester, East Midlands and London Stansted airports. It is already partnered with BCEG on the Airport City UK construction project in Manchester.
This is the second concession tender for Sofia Airport launched by Bulgaria’s government, after the earlier tender from 2016 was scrapped last year by a caretaker cabinet.
The delay has allowed the government to update the tender criteria and it has opted to set more ambitious goals for the future concession holder – instead of building a new Terminal 1 with seven jetways with an annual passenger flow capacity of at least three million people, it now requires building a Terminal 3, keeping the old Terminal 1, currently in use mainly by low-cost airlines, in operation.
The government has also increased its concession fee (at least 10 per cent of the airport’s revenues or 15 million leva, whichever is higher) after the airport saw a 30 per cent increase in passenger numbers in 2017, to just under 6.5 million.
(Sofia Airport photo: Aisano)