Prime Minister Ana Brnabic said on Wednesday that the partnership with VINCI Airports in next 25 years will provide investments in the amount of EUR 732mn
These investments in the infrastructure of the Belgrade Nikola Tesla Airport, will be in addition to regular annual concession fees, the Serbian government said on its website.
It brought in full the speech of Brnabic at a ceremony marking the beginning of the concession and taking over the management of the Nikola Tesla Airport by company VINCI Airports Serbia, which took place at the Nikola Tesla Airport in Belgrade:
“Today is a significant day, both for the Nikola Tesla Airport and for Serbia.
Today we mark the beginning of VINCI Airports Serbia work at Belgrade airport and the start of the implementation of the concession for:
(2) development through construction and reconstruction,
(3) maintenance and management of infrastructure, and
(4) performance of the operator of the Nikola Tesla airport.
This project has a strategic importance for the continued development of Serbia.
First of all, our partnership with VINCI represents the first concession in the history of our country.
Secondly, VINCI is a partner who will undoubtedly improve the business of our airport. The airport remains in the ownership of its shareholders, with their knowledge, experience, references and resources, around 83.5% of which is from the Republic of Serbia.
When we talk about VINCI, we are talking about a strategically important partner for us, who will promote the potential of Serbia to the world.
Serbia has a long history in civilian and military aviation, and this year we celebrate a century of aviation in Serbia.
We are one of the first countries to set up a legal framework for the field of civil aviation in 1913. We were one of the first 10 signatories to the International Convention for the Regulation of Air Navigation, signed in Paris in 1919.
Mihailo Pupin, one of our greatest scientists and long-serving President of the Serbian People’s Alliance in America, was one of the founders of today’s NASA.
We can be proud of the successes of all our aviation experts who have brought change and prosperity in each generation.
Serbia is a signatory to the International Agreement with the European Union and its member states on the establishment of a common European aviation area. Serbia is an equal member of the European Civil Aviation.
Over the last 5 years, we have significantly harmonized our regulations with European regulations in all aspects and started developing the Air Traffic Development Strategy by 2025.
The European Agency for Air Traffic Safety awarded the Republic of Serbia with the highest safety rating.
Today, we sit alongside the European leaders, despite the many challenges our airline industry has faced in past decades.
The breakthrough happened when the Serbian Government, led by then Prime Minister, Aleksandar Vucic launched the restructure of our national airline, Air Serbia.
The partnership of Serbia with Etihad Airways was the basis for a new beginning, and in the first year brought a million new passengers to Belgrade.
In 2012, 3,400,000 passengers came through Belgrade Nikola Tesla airport. At the end of 2018, thanks to this partnership with Etihad and the creation of Air Serbia, the airport welcomed 5,600,000 passengers. This is the highest in the history of this airport.
The growth of Belgrade Nikola Tesla airport is the result of hard work, change and faith in the potential of our country. We knew that we need an experienced partner so there was sustainable growth and development of the airport.
A large number of institutions and teams of the Government of the Republic of Serbia, with incredible support from the President of the Republic of Serbia, participated in the creation and realization of this project.
We conducted a transparent, international tender involving the biggest players around the world. In this tough competition, Vinci Airports emerged as the winning bid.
And so today we celebrate another strong partnership in our airline industry – firstly it was with Etihad, and now with one of the world’s strongest companies in the aviation industry: VINCI Airports.
We have been looking for a partner who shares our vision for the future of Serbia, which is equally ambitious and equally committed to the realization of this vision – which is Belgrade and Serbia as the regional hub for air traffic in Southeast Europe.
Our plan is for this partnership and our common vision to lead to an increase in tourism and business to Serbia. We want to welcome 15 million passengers every year to Nikola Tesla Airport.
Over the next 25 years, in addition to regular annual concession fees, this partnership will invest €732 million in the infrastructure of Nikola Tesla Airport.
With this, we open the doors of Serbia to the world even wider for those who want to move here, invest, live, create or just visit our country.
In many ways, this project symbolizes a new chapter on modern and innovative Serbia that is connected to the world.
I want to congratulate VINCI Airports and thank you for believing in Serbia, the future of our economy and the potential of our citizens.
Now I want to invite Nicolas Notebaert to join me.
Mr. Notebaert, I want to offer you this key, as a symbol of our partnership. I know you will work hard to improve airport operations and you can count on the Government of Serbia as a true partner.
Together we will achieve our vision of a strong, connected and modern Serbia.”