Serbia picks French firm to run Belgrade airport concession

Serbia's government has picked France's Vinci Airports for a 25-year concession to run the main Belgrade airport, the biggest in western Balkans.

Officials said Saturday that the French concession and construction company has pledged to provide an upfront payment of 501 million euros ($602 million) and invest an additional 732 million euros ($880 million) into the Nikola Tesla Airport.

Serbia's Prime Minister Ana Brnabic says the French bid was chosen because of "financial, technical and legal criteria."

Vinci Airports is one of the top five international players in the airport sector, with 132.3 million passengers handled in 2016 and 35 airports operated worldwide. The Belgrade airport handled 5 million passengers last year.

The deal is expected to be finalized in March.