The consortium chosen as a concessionaire plans millionaire works and consolidate the airport in Bulgaria as a cargo center.
The Bulgarian Council of Ministers made the decision to postpone for one month the signing of the concession contract for Plovdiv Airport (PDV), which was left to a consortium between Hainan Group and Plovdiv Airport Invest, based in the Netherlands.
The choice of the concessionaire was made last March and the contract was expected to be signed before June 15, but at the request of the Chinese investors that make up the Hainan Group, the signature will be made in mid-July.
The investors requested more time in order to provide all the necessary documents, although the fact raised doubts about who is really behind the Dutch company, since Hainan owns only 20% of the shares in the consortium.
Anyway, the future of the Plovdiv Airport seems quite promising. The new concession is valid for 35 years, during which the concessionaire undertakes to make investments of some 70,083 million euros, for the repair, maintenance and rehabilitation of existing infrastructure, as well as the construction of new facilities.
Initially, some 30 million euros of the investment are planned to be used for the construction of a cargo and passenger terminal and runway extension from 2,500 to 3,200 meters.
These improvements will expand the capacity of Plovdiv Airport enough to serve 1 million passengers per year and some 50,000 tons of cargo.
It is also planned to open an air route to a city in China that will be operated three times a week, two in passenger flights and one in cargo.
The new concessionaire intends to consolidate the airport as an important freight transport hub in Bulgaria and the Balkans.
The Plovdiv Airport is located in the city of the same name, 160 kilometers east of Sofia. In 2017 it moved some 91,600 passengers.
Most of the flights that operate in it are seasonal. Ryanair is the only airline with regular services, to Bergamo, Charleroi and London-Stansted.