Nieuws-items bij ISPA
Commissioner for Regional Policy, Danuta Hübner, welcomed the opening today of the new Sofia Airport, one of the first projects approved for ISPA assistance by the European Commission in July 2000 and the first major ISPA project to be completed to date.
Commissioner Hübner stated: "This airport is the main gateway into Bulgaria and thus provides a very visible link to the EU and the rest of the world at this very important moment - its accession to the EU. At the same time it is a positive sign that despite the complexity and scale of this project, it was brought to a successful end showing that when all efforts are mobilized Bulgaria demonstrates good absorption capacity which is of critical importance for its performance as a Member State of the EU."
The new terminal is the culmination of many years of planning, starting with the 1995/96 airport development Master Plan, the main elements of which were a new passenger terminal building and new parallel runway.
The new passenger terminal building and related infrastructure (aircraft parking aprons, taxiways and car parking) are financed by ISPA to a maximum amount of € 45 million (37% of costs). A European Investment Bank loan of € 60 million and Bulgarian national funds make up the remainder of the estimated budget of € 135 million. The new runway which is not part of the ISPA project is co-financed by the Kuwait Fund.
Sofia airport currently handles just under 2 million passengers per annum. Traffic has grown rapidly in recent years (around 70% since 2001) and strong growth is expected to continue following the accession of Bulgaria to the EU. The new terminal has a design capacity of 2.6 million passengers per annum, 20 aircraft movements per peak hour, and 26000 tonnes cargo per annum.
The objectives of the project are to provide modern facilities that cater for the growth in air traffic and correspond with the recommendations regarding safety and security of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). During development the obligations imposed on airports by EU legislation in the fields of border controls, customs and security have been observed.
The works contract for the construction of the terminal was awarded at the end of 2002 to the Austrian company Strabag International GmbH. Construction work started in 2003. The designer and supervising engineer, paid from PHARE funds, is NACO (Netherlands Airport Company).