|Belgrade Airport to resume development projects following record profit|
Belgrade Nikola Tesla Airport will invest a total of 34.1 million euros in upgrading and expanding its facilities this year, as well as improving security measures. The fifteen million euro expansion of the airport's Terminal 2 building, initially planned to begin last December, has been delayed, with work to commence this year instead, although no firm date for the start of construction has been announced. It will include the development of an additional 11.000 square metres of space, four air bridges for widebody aircraft and four gates for accessing remote stands. This week, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) said it is prepared to back the airport's development plans. "The EBRD is ready to take on an active role and give its support to the airport's development", the Minister for Construction, Transport and Infrastructure, Zorana Mihajlović, said, after meeting with EBRD officials. She did not elaborate on how exactly the international financial institution could be involved in the project.
The airport's Managing Director, Saša Vlaisavljević, says some 6.5 million euros are currently being invested in upgrading safety equipment and technology, with the purchase of additional x-ray machines, body scanners, fire trucks, bomb detectors and other screening devices in order for the airport to meet the United States Transportation Security Administration's strict standards, a prerequisite for flights to the US, planned to commence this June. Furthermore, the overhaul of the airport's Terminal 1 building will resume this year and space will be made for additional waiting areas in order to improve amenities for transfer passengers connecting onto other flights. Mr Vlaisavljević notes that all of the improvements will be financed from the airport's own funds. According to the Managing Director, the airport recorded a net profit of 21.1 million euros in 2015.
Last week, the Serbian Prime Minister, Aleksandar Vučić, said the airport will either be privatised or put up for concession by the end of this year. He noted that procedures to select a privatisation advisor have been scrapped and the government will now enter direct negotiations with a potential advisor. The move comes after six interested parties were unhappy with the offered reimbursement fees. According to Mr Vučić, the airport's concession fee could fetch up to 500 million euros. Last week, sources close to the Turkish-based TAV Airports Holding said it was in talks to purchase rights to operate the airport, with further details to be revealed next month. TAV runs Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport and a further thirteen airports across the world, including those in neighbouring Macedonia and Croatia.