Manchester Airports Group (MAG) has submitted a bid to operate Bulgaria’s Sofia airport for the next 35 years along with Chinese construction giant BCEG.

The company announced in October 2018 that it intended to submit a proposal after the Bulgarian government opened the tender process in July.

MAG currently operates three major UK airports – Manchester, Stansted and East Midlands – and provides services to six hubs in the US.

The group’s UK airports have seen a boost in traffic recently and now serve more than 60 million passengers a year collectively. It is in the midst of a £1.5 billion investment programme at its airports, while its Sofia partner BCEG is building Beijing Daxing International airport, which will be the world’s largest when it opens.

MAG says the consortium’s bid for Sofia includes “significant plans for the redevelopment and reconfiguration of existing terminals at the airport, as well as designs for a brand new Terminal 3, which, when complete, will ensure Sofia has an airport fit for its position as a European capital city.”

Andrew Harrison, CEO of airport services at MAG, commented: “As we promised last year, MAG has made its formal submission to the Bulgarian government. It is an exciting moment for us, as we truly believe that Sofia airport has enormous potential to deliver further connectivity for Sofia. This in turn will help stimulate additional economic growth and tourism throughout Bulgaria.

“We have spent much of the past two years in Bulgaria, hearing from businesses and, most importantly, the people of Sofia, about what they would like to see in a new, redeveloped airport. We at MAG believe that this concession process will be hugely beneficial for Bulgaria as a whole and that, together with BCEG, we have a compelling offer. We are thrilled to be taking part.”

Xing Yan, regional director of BCEG International Co Ltd, added: “By successfully submitting our bid with our partners MAG in the concession tender, we have the opportunity and ability to completely transform Sofia airport and the experiences of the millions of people that use it every year. BCEG has a great track record of delivering projects of major importance like this on time, on budget and to the highest quality.

“This would be the first of many major construction projects on and around the airport estate, and we look forward to working closely with MAG improving the transportation infrastructure and placing Sofia Airport firmly on the aviation and tourism map.

“We are extremely proud to be part of the team submitting our proposal for this flagship scheme. Sofia international airport will contribute significantly to the enhancement of the area but also contributing to the continued success of Bulgaria and its people.”

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