SERBIA. Vinci Airports has been named as preferred bidder for the 25-year concession to manage Belgrade Nikola Tesla Airport.

The contract with the government of Serbia is expected to be finalised in Q1 this year, with Vinci Airports taking over by year end. The concession covers financing, operation and maintenance, plus an extension and upgrade of the existing airport terminal and runways.

Vinci Airports said it would expand retail areas and reorganise and optimise passenger flows to help lift the customer experience. Dufry is the airport’s anchor travel retailer.

Extending the portfolio: Vinci Airports’ newest concession is detailed in this infographic

With 5.3 million passengers in 2017, Belgrade is the country’s main airport. It is the hub for flag carrier Air Serbia, which accounts for more than 50% of the airport’s passenger traffic.

Vinci Concessions CEO and Vinci Airports Chairman Nicolas Notebaert said: “This success marks a new stage in Vinci Airports’ expansion outside France. Belgrade Nikola Tesla Airport will serve as the company’s hub in Southeast Europe, a geographical area in which Vinci Airports has not operated until now.”

As concessionaire, Vinci Airports said it would improve the airport to “enable Air Serbia to offer new long-haul routes as part of its hub strategy. Vinci Airports will build on its partnerships with over 200 airlines to further increase the airport’s traffic and connectivity, in line with Serbia’s strong economic growth potential.”