Bulgaria extends deadline in Plovdiv airport concession tender for a fourth time

Bulgaria’s Transport Ministry has extended the deadline for bids in the concession tender for Plovdiv Airport until March 24, a notice on the ministry’s tender website said.

The previous deadline was due to expire on February 25. The ministry did not say whether it has received any bids in the tender.

The Cabinet approved the tender criteria in February 2020 and an official tender notice was published in the Official Journal of the European Union on March 4 last year.

Initially, the bids were due in April 2020, but that deadline was repeatedly pushed back, the latest extension being the fourth.

The government offered the 35-year concession in exchange for an annual fee of at least 100 000 leva (or about 51 100 euro) and a commitment to invest at least 100 million leva in repairing and upgrading the existing airport infrastructure, Transport Minister Rossen Zhelyazkov said at the time.

Zhelyazkov was optimistic about investor interest, but that was before the full impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the aviation and travel industries was fully felt across Europe.

This is the Cabinet’s second attempt to find a concessionaire for the airport in Bulgaria’s second-largest city. The previous tender was scrapped in October 2018 after the chosen bidder, a consortium that included a subsidiary of Chinese conglomerate HNA Group – which began at that time an asset divestment programme to reduce debt – said it was unable to sign the concession contract.

(Plovdiv Airport photo: podtepeto.com)

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