The South Korean government has endorsed a bid by the state-owned Incheon International Airport Corporation for the 25-year concession of Belgrade Nikola Tesla Airport. The Deputy Minister for Civil Aviation in the South Korean government, Suh Hoon-Taik, said, "We want to make it clear that we are very interested in this project. We are ready to apply our knowledge and expertise at Belgrade Airport". He added. "We are formulating a strategy to develop Nikola Tesla Airport into the main international hub in the Balkans. We want to expand capacity as quickly as possible. The average annual passenger growth at Belgrade Airport is 7%. Based on that, we want to formulate a high-quality plan that will expand the airport in line with the growth rate, while at the same time offer comfortable and seamless travel for all passengers".
Members of the South Korean Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport met with their Serbian counterparts in Belgrade last week to discuss the concession in more detail. "If we win the concession we would also invest in human resources. The Incheon Airport Aviation Academy is one of the first training centers designated as an International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) regional training facility of excellence. We would like to train Serbian experts in this field as well as share our knowledge and experience in airport management. Furthermore, our win would attract other Korean companies to invest in Serbia", Mr Suh said. He added, "There is interest on both sides to establish scheduled flights between Korea and Serbia and we will undertake a study to determine if there is sufficient demand. The prerequisite for these flights is an Air Service Agreement, which was concluded with Serbia last year. I will also assist in increasing cooperation between Air Serbia and Korean carriers".
Incheon International Airport Corporation manages South Korea's busiest hub, which last year handled 57.7 million passengers and generated revenue of one billion euros. Its international expansion began in 2009 when it signed a consulting project to support the operation of Iraq’s new Erbil International Airport. It has since concluded 25 overseas contracts for projects in twelve countries. It was selected to provide operations consulting services for Istanbul's new airport, which is currently under construction and expected to be the world’s largest. It has also begun a consulting project for the development of a third terminal at Jakarta's Soekarno–Hatta International Airport. The Corporation also boasts projects in India, Russia, the Philippines, Uzbekistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Cambodia, the Dominican Republic and Paraguay. It unsuccessfully bid for a concession of Zagreb Airport in 2011.
A total of 25 companies have progressed to the first phase of the bidding process for Belgrade Airport, which entails the submission of non-binding bids. The deadline for their submission has been set for May 15. The concession has generated strong interest from Asia, with companies and consortiums from China, Japan and India taking part.