|Belgrade Airport prepares for expansion without foreign partner|
Belgrade Nikola Tesla Airport is likely to expand its facilities without a concession partner and primarily stick to a development masterplan drafted in 2003. According to local media reports, the airport’s net profit, which amounted to a record 27 million euros in 2014, will supposedly go towards the construction of a third terminal building and the overhaul of its existing infrastructure. The construction work is expected to be carried out by local contractors. Earlier this week, Serbia’s Prime Minister, Aleksandar Vučić, said that existing facilities must be reconstructed and additional capacity added in order for the airport to become more functional. “Whether we will accomplish this with a foreign partner through a concession or some other form of public-private partnership, or whether we will do the job ourselves, will be decided in the next two months”, the Prime Minister said.
|Belgrade Airport masterplan - click to enlarge|
According to the masterplan drafted in 2003 (pictured above), the airport is to build a third terminal, second runway, hotel and rail links to the city by 2025. In line with the development proposal made over a decade ago, the airport extended its Terminal 2 apron and added additional aircraft parking positions last year. The masterplan is largely based on an earlier proposal made prior to the break-up of Yugoslavia, which was intended for completion by 2010.
The airport will also embark on a major runway refurbishment and upgrading project next year. The airport’s Acting Managing Director, Saša Vlaisavljević says, “In 2016 and 2017 we will overhaul the runway. Last time work was carried out on the runway was in 2005”. Ten years ago the European Investment Bank awarded a five million euro loan to the airport for the installation of a CAT IIIb runway/taxiway system, which allows aircraft to land safely during fog and storms. Mr. Vlaisavljević says nearby Batajnica Airport could be used as an alternative during the planned runway refurbishment. However, sources close to the airport have told EX-YU Aviation News that work on the runway could be carried out without the airport’s full closure, but would significantly limit the pace of reconstruction, which would be carried out during night time.
Recently, the French concession and construction company Vinci reaffirmed its interest to vie for a concession of Belgrade Airport. The Serbian government has announced its intention to launch a state-run company to manage up to 25 of the country’s airports, including Belgrade, by April. Plans to put the airport up for concession were first announced in December 2013, however the process has been routinely delayed ever since.