France’s Vinci formally takes over Belgrade airport

February 13, 2019
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A man watches the ceremony as France's Vinci Airports takes over the running of Belgrade Nikola Tesla Airport in Belgrade, Serbia, Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2019. France's Vinci Airports has formally started a 25-year concession to run Belgrade airport, with massive investment giving the group a foothold in southeastern Europe for its ambitious airport division. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)

BELGRADE, Serbia (AP) — The airport division of French construction and concession company Vinci has started running the airport in Serbia’s capital after it was picked for the 25-year job.

Officials said Wednesday at a ceremony at Belgrade Nikola Tesla Airport that Vinci Airports provided an upfront payment of 501 million euros ($564 million) and promised to invest another 730 million euros ($823 million) in new infrastructure.

CEO Nicolas Notebaert says Vinci plans to make the airport a regional hub and triple the number of passengers from 5 million to 15 million a year.

Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic says the concession is of “strategic importance” to Serbia.

Vinci Airports is one of the top five international players in the airport sector.