May 10, 2017 / 11:14 AM / 2 months ago

UPDATE 1-Bulgaria to re-launch Sofia airport concession tender

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(Adds details, background)

SOFIA, May 10 (Reuters) - Bulgaria plans to re-launch a tender to run and operate Sofia airport, Finance Minister Vladislav Goranov said on Wednesday.

Last month, Bulgaria's interim government cancelled the tender saying the plan to grant concession rights for 35 years at the country's main airport was not in the public interest as it would lead to higher airport fees and hurt air traffic to the Balkan country..

The tender was launched in May 2016 by the previous government of Prime Minister Boiko Borisov.

"We have no reason to change the strategy for the management of Sofia airport. The procedure to grant Sofia airport on concession will be launched again," Goranov told reporters after the first cabinet meeting of the new government, led by Borisov.

Sofia airport, which was used by 5 million passengers last year, is currently operated by the state.

Goranov did not say when the tender would be re-launched and refused to provide more details.

Turkey's Limak Holding, Russia's VTB Capital and Switzerland's Flughafen Zuerich were planning to jointly bid for the right to operate the airport, sources said last year.

German airport operator Fraport has said it was considering whether to bid. Local media has said Turkish airports group TAV, in which French Groupe ADP has a 38 percent stake had also expressed an interest.

The tender is projected to bring 1.2 billion levs ($667 million) into state coffers. The government hopes to use the proceeds to modernise debt-ridden state railway operator BDZ. ($1 = 1.7990 leva) (Reporting by Angel Krasimirov; editing by Jason Neely)

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