The Croatian Government has awarded a 30-year concession to a French consortium to expand and manage Zagreb airport, according to reports in the Croatian press
on February 23, 2012. The winning company, ZAIC (Zagreb Airport International Company), consists of construction company Bouygues Batiment International Airport and Aeroports de Paris Management.
The first phase of the expansion, according to Internet portal Danas.hr
, will involve the French investing 190 million euro in a new passenger terminal, and the investment will be a major boost to the Croatian capital's infrastructure, as it looks to increase tourism and business traffic with the onset of EU entry, scheduled for 2013.
According to a report in Bloomberg
late last year, the French consortium agree to pay 87 million euro in concession fees over the 30 year period, and will also invest another 29 million euro, once airport traffic exceeds 5 million passengers (2010 figures recorded 2.1 million)
In addition to the extra traffic European integration will bring to the capital of an EU country, Zagreb is emerging as a tourist destination, as well as an entry point to the more popular coastal resorts. The establishment of the first low-cost connection between London Luton and Zagreb by Wizzair several years ago has been taken over by a year-round connection by easyJet from Gatwick, which many people use as the best means of reaching the UK out of season.
Additional traffic will also be generated from older routes which were interrupted during the recent conflict in former Yugoslavia, such as the first direct flights between Belgrade and Zagreb
, as previously reported by Digital Journal, while new routes, such as Qatar Airways from Doha are examples of the growing interest of Zagreb as a destination.