Following three years of constant delays, the construction of Split Airport's much needed new passenger terminal will begin this autumn. It comes after the airport completed tendering procedures to select the company which will be responsible for building the facility. Initially, the tender was to take place in the first half of 2014. Over the past month, both the Austrian construction company Strabag and a Slovenian consortium lodged complaints against Split Airport for the way in which the tender was conducted. However, the Croatian State Commission for the Supervision of Public Procurement Procedures has dismissed both cases. On the other hand, the state has issued construction permits. Split Airport has been struggling with capacity issues during the peak summer months when the bulk of its passengers pass through its doors.
The new terminal will stretch over 34.500 square metres and increase the airport’s capacity to 3.5 million passengers per year. Furthermore, the car park and bus area will be expanded by 35.500 square metres. The project is valued at 59.3 million euros and is estimated to take just over two years to complete. The state will exempt Split Airport from paying tax on profit, which will fund part of the investment (17.1 million euros) through its accumulated profits. The rest will be paid through a loan from the Croatian Bank for Reconstruction and Development, which will not require state guarantees. Split Airport's expansion is the third major project of its kind in Croatia following similar ongoing investments at Zagreb and Dubrovnik airports.
Split Airport was Croatia's busiest in July, handling over 542.000 passengers, representing a monthly record. As a result, it was the first time a Croatian airport welcomed over half a million travellers in a single month. The figure represents growth of 25% compared to July 2015. The airport, which is Croatia's second busiest and the former Yugoslavia's third busiest overall, is expected to comfortably surpass the two million passenger mark by the end of the year, which would be a first for Split. Split's existing airport was opened in November 1966, while the current passenger terminal was built in 1979 for the Mediterranean Games. It has the capacity to handle one million passengers per year. The terminal was overhauled and slightly expanded in 2005.