Sofia Airport set for major €480m upgrade 

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The project is one of the largest PPP programmes in Bulgaria so far. 

Sofia Airport, Bulgaria’s busiest international airport, is to benefit from a major long-term upgrade thanks to international funding.

In what is being labelled “phase 1” of the project, €480m will be spent on enhancing transport connections to the airport and modernising and upgrading existing airport facilities. This will happen in the first few years of the new PPP agreement that has now been put in place.

SOF Connect AD has been awarded the 35-year PPP contract for investing, operating and maintaining the airport by the Ministry of Transport, Information Technology and Communications. The group’s lead shareholder is Meridiam an independent investment corporation that specialises in the development, financing, and long-term management of sustainable public infrastructure.

While SOF Connect AD and its shareholders are providing €240m of funding for the programme, this will be matched by loans from international groups including the Black Sea Trade and Development Bank (BSTDB) and the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development.

Dmitry Pankin, president of the BSTDB, said: “Support of critical infrastructure across the Black Sea region remains top priority. We are very pleased to be part of this project which will improve the country’s connectivity, boost tourism and lead to economic growth in Bulgaria, once the pandemic is stabilised.”

The PPP agreement includes a commitment to deliver a new terminal for their airport by 2030 and will run until at least 2055.