Bulgaria prosecutors decline to intervene in Sofia Airport concession tender
Bulgaria’s prosecutor’s office said on November 7 that it did not have any legal ground to appeal in court the Cabinet tender for the concession of Sofia Airport.
The request was made last month by a group of MPs from Bulgaria’s main opposition party, the socialists. The MPs said that the airport, as the largest air hub in the country, was of key importance to national security and a concession would undermine that status.
But the Supreme Administrative prosecutor’s office said that it could not, under the provisions of the country’s Concessions Act, legally appeal the Cabinet decision that approved the concession tender.
The Transport Ministry’s announcement of the tender could be challenged at the Commission for Protection of Competition, within 10 days, a deadline that expired in mid-July, the statement said.
Similarly, the ministry’s decision to extend the concession bids deadline (by one month to November 22), was subject to the same 10-day appeal period, but the prosecutor’s office said that it had not received all the documentation need to decide whether to lodge such an appeal before the appeal deadline passed on October 16.
The socialists have been strongly opposed to the concession of Sofia Airport, arguing that there was no pressing need to do so, given that the airport was making a profit and saw continued passenger growth.
The government’s argument is that a concessionaire would be better placed to invest in additional infrastructure – a third terminal and, potentially, a second runway – while the upfront concession payment would be injected in the state railways BDZ to clear its debts and purchase new rolling stock.