CONSTRUCTION OF THE NEW AIR TERMINAL TO BE LAUNCHED AT CHRISTMAS
Insiders inform that the German firm Strabag is the winner in the competition for execution of the project Passengers' Terminal of the Sofia Airport (LOT B1). The contract with the winner firm will be officially signed on Monday (December 16) at the Ministry of Transport and Telecommunications. Four offers were submitted. The experts evaluate Strabag's as the most advantageous one. The Germans are offering final price of EUR110.608MN, including a 1.5-per cent discount. This price is considerably lower than the ones formed by the company Sofia Airport Contracting Group (EUR122.828MN) and by the consortium between Hochtief (Germany) and Glavbolgarstroy (EUR132.187MN). The fourth offer - of the Slovenian company CGCT, was admitted to take part in the competition after a one-hour meeting of the members of the auction commission who at first doubted the regularity of this firm's documents. CGCT offered a price of EUR150.855 which, according to insiders, considerably reduces its chances to take part in the final ranking.In the meantime, on November 20, Finance Minister Milen Velchev, Transport Minister Plamen Petrov, the representative of the European Investment Bank (EIB) Emanuel Maravich, Director of Emerging Markets, and Jaque Domenicus Spota, Chief Legal Advisor at EIB's Legal Office, signed the updated draft of the finance agreement for support of the Project Reconstruction, Development and Expansion of Sofia Airport. The funding in question is a loan of EUR60MN, which was agreed in September, 1997, and on November 5, 1997, was ratified by the 38th National Assembly. But the sum was in ecu, which necessitated its actualization in the new European currency. Apart from that new clauses were added which concerned the funds, additionally launched on the project by the pre-accession EU funds - the EUR50MN free financial aid, provided on the ISPA program of EU for construction of the new passengers' terminal.About EUR192MN is being raised for the construction of the Sofia Airport (EUR60MN from EIB, EUR50MN on ISPA, EUR36.2MN as a loan from the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development, EUR7.6MN as free aid on the PHARE program and EUR38MN, provided as co-financing by the Bulgarian Government).The corrections of the financial agreement foresee amendment of the project's technical description, extension of the term for funds' accumulation, different loan repayment schedule and extension of the grace period till 2006. Yet the final term to redemption is preserved unchanged.There are no technical reasons why construction works should not be started by end of the year. The only obstacle according to experts might be the incoming Christmas and New Year holidays. At this stage the four preliminary conditions have already been fulfilled - the technical project was approved, the construction licence was issued on September 2, 2002, the process for buying out of the agricultural lands was completed and the necessary funds have been provided.Construction at Sofia Airport will continue for 22 months. It will include the building of a new 3.4-km-long track, which will enable landing of heavier airplanes like Boeing 747 and Airbus A-340. The passengers' terminal will handle 2.5 million passengers a year. The total built-up area of the building will be 99,340 sq. m., one third of which are projected to be a four-storey parking lot with a green roof. The project also foresees construction of a VIP-hall and a pond with a fountain at the entrance of the airport.