April 5, 2017 / 9:37 AM / 10 months ago

UPDATE 1-Bulgaria cancels tender for Sofia airport

(Adds details, background)

SOFIA, April 5 (Reuters) - Bulgaria’s interim government on Wednesday cancelled a tender to run and operate Sofia airport, saying the plans to grant concession rights for 35 years at the country’s main airport were not in the public interest.

“The government has decided to cancel the tender,” a government spokeswoman said after a cabinet meeting.

The interim transport minister said last month he would propose the cancellation of the tender as it would lead to higher airport fees and hurt air traffic to Bulgaria.

The centre-right GERB party, which won snap elections last month and hopes to form a coalition government by the end of April, is expected to look into the process and decide whether to launch a new tender for the airport.

The tender was originally launched last May by the previous centre-right government and could have raised 1.2 billion levs ($655 million), half of which should have been paid upfront.

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 and local media has said Turkish airports group TAV, in which French Groupe ADP has a 38 percent stake had also expressed an interest.

The Sofia airport, which was used by 5 million passengers last year, is currently operated by the state. ($1 = 1.8320 leva) (Reporting by Tsvetelia Tsolova; editing by Jason Neely and Jane Merriman)

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