Will the French build Zagreb’s dream airport?Despite announcements that the tender to find the concessionaire willing to build and run Zagreb’s new terminal would be terminated, the second phase of the tender process has been completed with only two out of the six original bidders making an offer, one of which has been immediately disqualified. The offers came from the consortium Flughafen Zurich & Starbag as well as Aeroports de Paris from France. However, the Swiss-Austrian consortium did not provide any necessary figures and thus its bid was rejected leaving Aeroports de Paris as the only remaining interested party. The outgoing government official talked up the tender process which has been marred by major problems from the outset. "We have successfully completed this second phase of bidding, and an expert commission will now assess the bid and propose its decision to the government", senior ministry official Tomislav Mihotić said. The commission has just over three months (100 days) to assess the bid. It reserves the right to reject the offer it finds it unfit.
Originally, ten consortiums bid for the Zagreb terminal with six making it into the second round. However, during the tender process, consortiums found out that the government had already chosen a design for the new terminal, despite not specifying so in the original tender documentation. Furthermore, the cost of the project was also reported to be too high for many of the bidders. This led the government to delay the final bidding deadline three times. Tender procedures began eight months ago.
Many have waited more than a decade for the new Zagreb terminal to advance from the planning stage and become a reality. Whether the French will be successful in doing so in 2012 remains to be seen. If they are, they will participate in a joint public private partnership with the Croatian government and run the airport for the next thirty years.