SOFIA AIRPORT RECONSTRUCTION PUT ON THE FAST TRACK
On January 17, 2001 the representatives of the ministries of transport and telecommunications, construction, defense, and Air Traffic Management, as well as other interested institutions were discussing for two hours the technical project for expanding Sofia Airport runway system, designed by the Dutch company Netherlansd Airport Consultants. According to the project will be opened a new 3600 metres long main runway, extension of the existing one by 800m and a new synthetic covering of the latter.
According to pre-evaluation, investments should reach not more than EUR62MN. The bigger part of that amount has laready been allocated through a USD40MN loan launched by the Kuwait Fund for Arabic Econommic Development - a state guaranteed loan, recently ratified by the Parliament. The remaining EUR20MN will be provided throught the EU ISPA pre-accession fund. Actually the government will apply to the ISPA fund for EUR60MN free aid for the total airport reconstruction project.
During the discussion a special attention was paid to the problem of fortifying the Iskar River banks in the area where both runways will cross it. The tender procedure for defining the major constructor of the runway system will also be speeded up, in view of finalizing it in May, and the construction works initiating in July latest. Speeding up the process is mandatory as the term defined for finalizing the first stage of the airport reconstruction expires in the end of October 2003. Along with the runway system by that time the new passengers terminal should also be finalized. It will have 50 dka total area and will service 2.5MN passengers annually.