Twenty-five out of 27 interested parties have qualified to take part in the submission of non-binding bids for a 25-year concession to operate Belgrade's Nikola Tesla Airport. The Serbian government last week extended the deadline for the submission of the non-binding offers. Originally set for April 13, the bidders will now have until May 15 to submit their proposals for financing, development and managing of the airport. "Upon the request of the majority of qualified participants, and taking into account the fact that a vast number of questions have been filed for the clarification of the set requirements, the Public Body has decided to extend the deadline for the submission of non-binding bids. While making such a decision, the Public Body followed the principles of the PPP [Public Private Partnership] Law and specifically, the principle of equal and just treatment and free market competition, so as to allow all qualified participants sufficient time to prepare their non-binding bids", the airport said in a statement. Despite the extension, the selection of the new concessionaire will not be delayed as the state will cut down on the time set to make their decision.
A total of 27 companies have applied to take part in the process, however, two have been rejected since they did not meet the necessary requirements. They are the Shenzhen Airport Group from China and Egis Airport Operation from France. The 25 who have met all the criteria and are taking part in the first phase of bidding are: Terna Gek Terna Group (Greece), Incheon International Airport (South Korea), China National Aero - Technology & HNA Airport Group Consortium (China), Manchester Airport Group (United Kingdom), Airports of Regions Management Company (Russia), IC Altyapı (Turkey), Mitsubishi Corporation (Japan), Hubco Netherlands and Ferrovial Airports (Spain), Eiffage (France), Zurich Airport (Switzerland), Meridiam (France), Vinci Airports (France), GMR Infrastructure Limited (India), Cengiz Holding Consortium (Turkey), Milano Linate (Italy), Strabag (Austria), CEE Equity Partners (Poland), Herbert Smith Freehills CIS (Russia), J&P - Avax (Greece), Fraport (Germany), China State Construction Engineering Corporation (China), Jiangsu Nantong Sanjian Construction Group (China), Mapa Insaat (Turkey), Novaport Invest (Russia) and Promova Limited (Cyprus). Following the submission of their non-binding bids, the state will have ten days to decide who has qualified for the second phase, which entails the submission of binding bids. A total of 75 days have been set for this part of the concession process.
The Serbian Minister for Construction, Transport and Infrastructure, Zorana Mihajlović, said the outcome of the concession tender should be known during the second half of the year. "Our expectations are that in the second half of the year, or the third quarter, we will have a clear idea of whether the submitted offers are such that we can award a concession". She added, "Our goal is to find a partner who is willing to invest based on the strategy and plan drafted by the state which will help us develop the airport into a regional player. The government's vision is for our country to become a transit hub for the region and the first choice for investors that want to put their capital in this part of Europe. Not only does the increased development at Nikola Tesla Airport confirm this, but it also demonstrates the pace at which we are approaching our goal".