Will the French build Zagreb’s dream terminal?There is just over a month left for an expert commission to decide whether to award Aeroports de Paris a concession to run Zagreb Airport and build a new multi million Euro terminal. The French offer, the only one received after a controversial year-long tender in 2011, has the support of Tomislav Mihotić, the State Secretary for Infrastructure. He believes the offer is good and would benefit Croatia as it would pump millions into the local economy.
While details of the French bid have not been disclosed to the public it is believed that they have offered to build, in the first phase of the project, a terminal with the capacity to handle five million passengers, a major strong point of the bid. During the tender, the government requested for a terminal with a capacity to handle 3.5 passengers to be built in the first stage. The French have outlined their plans to make Zagreb a regional hub and believe strong passenger growth would be seen in the first few years since being granted the concession. As a result, they also believe Croatia Airlines would benefit since the airport would become transit point in South East Europe.
On the other hand there is also staunch opposition to the French offer and there have been calls for the entire tender procedure to be repeated. Recently, GMR Infrastructure, one of the ten tender bidders said, “We evaluated, then we decided not to go ahead. Looking at the project's economics, they were not working out". Some consortiums participating in the tender claimed it was mismanaged and that participants were misguided. During the tender process, bidders 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 ultimately led the government to delay the final tender deadline three times.