Manchester Airports Group is bidding with a Chinese firm to operate Sofia airport in Bulgaria for the next 35 years.

The company is in a consortium with China-based construction giant BCEG, which is building Beijing Daxing international as the world’s largest airport with up to nine runways.

MAG operates Manchester, Stansted and East Midlands airports and provides services to six others in the US.

A formal bid was submitted to the transport ministry in Sofia yesterday.

The anglo-Chinese consortium’s submission includes the redevelopment and reconfiguration of existing terminals at the airport, as well as designs for a new Terminal 3.

A competitive concession process was started by the Bulgarian government last summer. MAG announced its intention to participate in October.

MAG airport services CEO Andrew Harrison, CEO said: “As we promised last year, MAG has made its formal submission to the Bulgarian government.

“It is an exciting moment for us, as we truly believe that Sofia airport has enormous potential to deliver further connectivity for Sofia. This in turn will help stimulate additional economic growth and tourism throughout Bulgaria.

“We have spent much of the past two years in Bulgaria, hearing from businesses, and, most importantly, the people of Sofia, about what they would like to see in a new, redeveloped airport.

“We believe that this concession process will be hugely beneficial for Bulgaria as a whole and that, together with BCEG, we have a compelling offer.”  

BCEG International regional director Xing Yand added: “By successfully submitting our bid with our partners MAG, in the concession tender, we have the opportunity and ability to completely transform Sofia airport and the experiences of the millions of people that use it every year.

“BCEG has a great track record of delivering projects of major importance like this on time, on budget and to the highest quality.”