Zagreb International Airport is to get a long awaited makeover following the conclusion of a deal between the Croatian government and Zagreb Airport International Company (ZAIC), a French consortium which has agreed to oversee the construction of a brand new terminal at the airport within the next three years.
The deal, which was first reported in the Croatian Times, will also see ZAIC undertake the management of both existing and new terminals for the next 30 years.
Such is the importance of Zagreb Airport’s expansion that Croatian Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic himself attended the signing ceremony to announce the new deal. Mr Milanovic told reporters that his nation was lagging behind other European countries when it came to strategically important infrastructure.
The prime minister went on to commend ZAIC as a bidder with “world renowned knowledge, experience and expertise”, adding that the country had already had previous positive experiences when dealing with French partners – a reference to the ongoing Bina Istra motorway project that is also being managed by a French consortium.
As part of last week’s agreement, it’s envisioned that Zagreb Airport will be able to expand its passenger turnover to around 5 million travelers per year, becoming not just a regional hub, but a European one as well. Deputy Transport Minister Zdenko Antesic, also present at the ceremony, explained that the government hoped to be able to achieve this without spending a single cent from the country’s own coffers.
Cristophe Petit, CEO of ZAIC, went on to outline his consortium’s immediate plans for the airport, saying that he hoped to begin construction on the new terminal and complete the takeover on the existing one within the next six-to-nine months. Once construction begins, Zagreb Airport’s new terminal should be fully operational in just three years, added Petit.
As part of the agreement, ZAIC will be obligated to protect the rights of employees at Zagreb Airport. In addition, the construction work will be carried out by two Croatian firms – Zagorje Tehnobeton and Vijadukt.
ZAIC will invest an initial €236 million to get the first construction stage off the ground, reported the Croatian Times, while its concession revenues will amount to approximately €1.94 billion over the next thirty years.