|UAE companies head to Belgrade to discuss airport concession|
The Persian Gulf’s largest construction company, Arabtec Holding, will hold talks with the Serbian government next week to discuss a possible concession of Belgrade Nikola Tesla Airport. Arabtec has executed a number of high profile construction projects, including the Burj Khalifa (the world’s tallest building), Dubai Airport’s Terminal 1, the passenger terminal at Dubai World Central International Airport and is in the process of building Abu Dhabi Airport’s new Midfield Terminal and runway. According to local media, Arabtec could take part in Belgrade Airport’s concession by providing construction work, while another company from the United Arab Emirates would also be involved. Although the company is yet to be named, it too will be present at next week’s talks with the Serbian government.
The government will use a Private-Public Partnership (PPP) model to build a third terminal at Belgrade Airport to be used exclusively by Air Serbia, reconstruct Terminal 1 and build a second runway, a cargo center and a nearby hotel. The investment is estimated to be worth one billion dollars. According to earlier reports, the government will offer a twenty year concession of Belgrade Airport. On Wednesday the Serbian Prime Minister, Aleksandar Vučić said, “Belgrade Airport is Serbia’s big chance. We need a bigger and better airport”. Mr. Vučić added that Air Serbia will launch flights to the United States by the end of next year, which will require upgrades at Belgrade Airport. Shares in Serbia's busiest airport soared to record levels on the Belgrade Stock Exchange on Friday following the news.
Several parties have already expressed their interest to take part in the concession. They include the Greek based Copelouzos Group as well as the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). Simeon Comokos, head of the Serbian-Greek Business Council said recently, “The company which owns 5% in a Greek airport and also has a stake in Saint Petersburg Airport is interested in participating in the privatisation of Belgrade Airport, if the airport is privatised”. Furthermore, Suma Chakrabarti, the President of the EBRD has said the bank is considering to take part in the concession. Interest from Austria, France and Russia has also been shown. Serbia’s busiest airport is set to be put up for concession later this year.