The UK’s Manchester Airports Group (MAG) has confirmed its plans to participate in the tender process for a 35-year concession to operate Sofia Airport in Bulgaria.

The Bulgarian government launched the bidding process for the airport operation in July this year.

MAG manages three major airports in the UK at Manchester, London Stansted and East Midlands. Together they serve 60 million travellers per annum to over 270 destinations via 70 airlines.

For the Sofia Airport concession bid, MAG has secured the support of Chinese state-owned construction giant BCEG, which is already working with the former on the Airport City UK construction project in Manchester.

BCEG’s participation is expected to open new avenues for collaboration between Bulgaria and China.

“We hope to be given the opportunity to deliver to the people of Bulgaria the world-class global gateway that they deserve.”

Manchester Airports Group CEO Charlie Cornish said: “Airports bring the world closer together and act as significant economic catalysts for both the regional and national economies in which they operate, and we hope to be given the opportunity to deliver to the people of Bulgaria the world-class global gateway that they deserve.

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“We have already undertaken a considerable amount of work in relation to this opportunity and have a clear vision as to how we will deliver a passenger experience and global route network for Sofia airport that is comparable to other top-tier airports around the world.”

MAG and its team of local advisers have spent more than two years to assess the potential of Sofia Airport.

Secretary of State for Transport Chris Grayling said: “MAG has invested heavily in its airports in the UK and has seen consistent, sustainable growth. I am pleased to support their bid to share this success at Sofia airport and a trusted airport operator like MAG is the right company to be investing in Bulgaria as Britain seeks to strengthen its economic ties.”

MAG’s partner BCEG has completed projects across 27 countries.