Two French management companies are considering vying for a concession for Belgrade Nikola Tesla Airport, according to the Serbian Prime Minister, Aleksandar Vučić. The comments were made following a meeting with French business leaders in Paris. The two companies in question are believed to be Vinci, which has previously expressed interest in investing in Serbia's main airport, as well as Bouygues Bâtiment International, which has a 20.77% stake in the consortium running Zagreb Airport. The government has already selected a French advisory firm to manage the privatisation process. While a formal decision is yet to be made on whether the airport will be fully privatised or put up for concession, Mr Vučić said the latter is "almost certain", noting that the process will be completed by mid-2017.
The Serbian government plans to offer a 25-year concession contract through a tender procedure, with the future operator required to provide an up-front payment of 310 million euros and invest at least 700 million euros in the airport. The concessionaire will be responsible for the airport’s long-term development strategy including management, maintenance, financing and capacity expansion. The airport is seen as a valuable asset with it being home to a national carrier with a fleet of over twenty aircraft and a further eight jets on order, as well as plans to expand its business including long haul operations. On the other hand, it is also a base for budget carrier Wizz Air, which will station a second aircraft and expand its operations from the city next year.
Belgrade Airport recorded revenue of over forty million euros during the first seven months of 2016 and profit of just over fourteen million euros over the same period. It has no outstanding credit loans or debts and is considered one of Serbia most profitable public enterprises. Between January and August it handled a record 3.291.141 passengers, up 0.4% on last year. Furthermore, it recorded its busiest day in history earlier this month. Air Serbia continues to be its busiest customer, followed by Wizz Air, Lufthansa, Montenegro Airlines and Swiss International Air Lines. So far, within the former Yugoslavia, Zagreb, Pristina, Skopje and Ohrid airports have been given up for concession, while Ljubljana, Maribor and Portorož airports have been fully privatised.