SERBIA. Competition for the 25-year concession to operate Belgrade Nikola Tesla is heating up, as the bidding consortia and companies make their arguments to the Serbian government.

Incheon International Airport Corporation (IIAC) believes the airport needs to boost non-aviation revenues to ensure its business is sustainable, CEO Il-Young Chang has said in a TV interview during a visit to Serbia.

Belgrade Airport currently generates just 20% of revenue from non-aviation sales, according to Reuters. The deal is slated to be worth around €400 million ($446 million).

South Korea’s IIAC leads one of four consortia for the bid, working with Turkey’s Yatirimlar ve isletme and Russia’s VTB Capital Infrastructure. Chang has pledged to make the airport “more ecologic and green, in line with the global trends”, according to local media reports.

Direct weekly flights between South Korea and Serbia have been discussed surrounding the bid.

The other consortia are Meridiam Eastern Europe Investments, Zurich Airport AG and France’s Eiffage; India’s GMR Infrastructure Limited and Greece’s Terna; and China’s Hainan Air Travel Service, HNA and China National Aero Technology.

France’s Vinci Airports made a solo bid which was accepted.

In August, Belgrade Airport extended the deadline for bids by one month to 23 October and the deadline for submitting binding offers to 23 November.

The airport said the extension was “in the interests of receiving the best offer and achieving the best conditions” from qualified bidders.

Nikola Tesla Airport serviced 955,988 passengers in the first quarter of 2017, up +10% year-on-year.