Belgrade Nikola Tesla International Airport in Serbia is undergoing a major expansion and modernisation project to improve the passenger experience.

The project is being carried out by a new joint venture company formed between Vinci Construction Grands Projects (51%) and GEK Terna Group (49%).

The €262m ($320.5m) modernisation and expansion project is mainly aimed at upgrading the capacity and operating conditions of the Belgrade airport. It will also support the addition of new routes and increase passenger and cargo volumes.

The airport handled approximately 6.2 million passengers in 2019. The modernisation project was launched by the presidents of France and Serbia in July 2019 and all the upgrade works are expected to be completed by 2025.

Belgrade Nikola Tesla airport expansion and airside modernisation

Belgrade Nikola Tesla airport’s passenger terminal building will be expanded by 42,000m², while the existing terminal facilities will be renovated with a total surface area of 15,000m².

A new 3,500m-long runway will be built and the current 3,400m-long runway will be modernised as part of the improvements to the airside facilities. A total of nine taxiways will be constructed and the existing apron will be expanded along with the construction of new apron infrastructure.

The project will also expand the current de-icing platforms by another 6,000m².

Belgrade Nikola Tesla landside upgrades

The JV will develop new car parking areas with a capacity of 2,400 vehicles. The upgrades will also involve the development of new kerbside / sidewalk infrastructure and facilities for departures / arrivals handling purposes.

The project will build 3,500m of road works to support the movement of vehicles. A rainwater drainage system, lighting and CCTV systems will be installed.

Additional works will include the construction of plants for the treatment of wastewater and solid waste, solar power plant, heating plant, and meteorological station.

Construction works

Belgrade Nikola Tesla Airport is implementing the ongoing construction works in line with the safety protocols mandated by the government to control the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The existing terminal building (Pier C) is being expanded to improve the capacity and functionality of the Belgrade airport.

Ongoing works also include improvements to aprons to facilitate the creation of additional aircraft parking positions. The cost of these works is estimated to be RSD5bn ($47.7m).

The project will focus on reducing the impact on the environment in the next phase of works, including the construction of a new power plant to produce heat and electricity. The plant will contribute to a reduction in emissions through the use of eco-friendly sources of energy. The airport started initial works for the construction of the new runway.

Financing for the project

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) agreed to provide a loan of up to €72m ($82.3m) for the upgrade project.

EBRD is also arranging €110m ($125.74m) worth of syndicated loan as part of a wider financial package supported by agencies such as the International Finance Corporation (IFC), German Investment Corporation (DEG), Proparco, Banca IMI, CIC, Erste Group, Société Générale, Kommunalkredit, and Unicredit.

Contractors involved

Terna received a €262m contract for the upgrade and expansion of the airport, in January 2019.

Energoprojekt is responsible for offering services including design, preparation of design documentation and feasibility study for the Nikola Tesla airport’s refurbishment project.

Belgrade Nikola Tesla airport background

In March 2018, VINCI Airports secured a concession contract for the Belgrade airport. Valid for a period of 25 years, the contract will help support the economic development of Serbia in addition to expanding the airport’s capacity. Under the concession agreement, VINCI Airports is responsible for financing, operations, modernisation, expansion, and maintenance of the airport along with the existing runway system.

VINCI Airports has been handling airport operations since December 2018. A total sum of more than €730m ($822.44m) is expected to be pumped into the airport during the course of the concession period to enhance service quality. The airport’s passenger handling capacity is projected to increase to 15 million by 2043.