VINCI Airports, the world’s fourth-largest airport operator, has been selected as the preferred bidder for the operation of Belgrade Nikola Tesla Airport for a period of 25 years. The contract is expected to be signed in the first quarter of 2018, with VINCI taking over operations by the end of the year. Nikola Tesla Airport is a major regional airport serving the Serbian capital Belgrade. In 2017, the Balkan regional hub handled 5.3 million passengers.
The 25-year term covers the financing, operation, maintenance, extension, and upgrade of the existing airport terminal and its runways. As the concessionaire, VINCI Airports will aim at improving airport operating conditions to enable Air Serbia to offer new long-haul routes as part of the airline’s plan for strengthening Belgrade as a hub. VINCI Airports will also build on its partnerships with over 200 airlines to further increase the airport’s traffic and connectivity, in line with Serbia’s strong economic growth potential. Details of the financial terms and anticipated concession revenues for the contract were not disclosed by VINCI Airports. However, the Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić stated that VINCI offered €501 million up front, with another €732 million in investments. Vučić also said the firm would pay the Serbian state between 4.3 and 16 million euros in annual concessionary fees.
Nicolas Notebaert, CEO of VINCI Concessions and Chairman of VINCI Airports, said: “This success marks a new stage in VINCI Airports’ expansion outside France. Belgrade Nikola Tesla Airport will serve as the company’s ‘hub’ in Southeast Europe, a geographical area in which VINCI Airports has not operated until now.”
In a statement, VINCI adds that it will seek to “capitalise on the substantial airport management and development expertise it has acquired in France, Portugal, Japan, and other countries to improve the overall airport customer experience, notably by reorganizing and optimising passenger flows and expanding retail areas.” VINCI is banking on passenger numbers rising from 5.3 million last year to an annual 10 million by 2030 and 15 million by the end of the concession.
VINCI Airports, a top 4 global player in the international airport sector, manages the development and operations of 35 airports located in France, Portugal (including the hub of Lisbon), Cambodia, Japan, the Dominican Republic, Chile, and Brazil. Served by more than 200 airlines, VINCI Airports’ network handled 132 million passengers in 2016. In the same year, its annual revenue for managed activities amounted to €2.7 billion, for a consolidated revenue of €1.05 billion.
Featured image by Vesailok via Wikimedia Commons.