Press Releases

Sofia Airport Concession Attracts Investors, 5 Bidders are Competing

IFC Contact:
Ashley Haddad


Sofia, Bulgaria, April 16, 2018—IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, and EBRD, have been asked by the Government of Bulgaria to provide advice to the Ministry of Transport to design and tender the Sofia Airport concession in line with the best practices. Five internationally known investors have submitted bids for the Sofia Airport concession, launched by the Government of Bulgaria last year.

“We are witnessing Bulgaria emerge as an attractive investment destination in the region,” said Fabrizio Zarcone, World Bank Country Manager for Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia. “Strong institutions, combined with the implementation of EU regulations, level the playing field, unlocking Bulgaria’s economic potential.”

“The EBRD is pleased to see that the concession has attracted five international players with extensive experience and strong track record in the sector,” said Larisa Manastirli, EBRD Director for Bulgaria. “The aim is to choose a solid international operator with the ability to develop the airport to best meet the needs of travellers and the Bulgarian economy. This will be good news and a signal to other investors eyeing to come to Bulgaria.”

Working with our partners, our Sustainable Infrastructure Advisory Facility was set up to help foster bankable PPPs in a competitive environment. This response to the Sofia tender is quite encouraging”, said Matthew Jordan Tank, Director for Sustainable Infra Policy and Project Preparation at EBRD in London.

Over the last two decades, there has been a worldwide trend towards private sector management of airports, many leveraging the public-private partnership (PPP) model, including concession contracts. In Europe in 2016, 41% of all airports had private shareholders—a 22% increase since 2010.

“By attracting private sector investment and expertise, airport concessions can deliver significant economic benefits for countries by stimulating tourism growth, improving cargo handling, upgrading the quality of service for passengers, and reducing the fiscal burden on governments,” said Georgi Petrov, IFC PPP Transaction Advisory Manager for Europe and Central Asia.

The Government of Bulgaria intends to achieve similar outcomes for the country through a concession for the Sofia Airport. Under the concession, all airport infrastructure and assets remain publicly owned; the private partner will be granted the rights to operate the airport for the duration of the contract.

On July 5, 2018, the Government of Bulgaria published a concession notice in the Official Journal of the EU. The private partner who offers the highest share of gross annual revenues and proposes the best sustainable airport development plan, in addition to paying a fixed upfront fee of Eur 281 million, will be granted the right to manage the airport, determined through a competitive bidding process. Bids are being checked for compliance with the tender requirements now and the actual technical and financial offers will be only be opened on May 9, 2019, in a public ceremony. All project documents have been published on the project website and are accessible to the public to ensure transparency and legality of the process.

For more information about the Sofia Airport concession, please visit

About IFC

IFC—a sister organization of the World Bank and member of the World Bank Group—is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets. We work with more than 2,000 businesses worldwide, using our capital, expertise, and influence to create markets and opportunities in the toughest areas of the world. In fiscal year 2018, we delivered more than $23 billion in long-term financing for developing countries, leveraging the power of the private sector to end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity. For more information, visit

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In addition to support for Sofia Airport concession process, EBRD ‘s Infrastructure Project Preparation Facility (IPPF) is also currently providing support to 8 other PPP tender processes in the region, including the port sector in Ukraine and Egypt, facilities management in Greece, Kazakhstan and Jordan, roads in Lebanon, and airports in Jordan.