Investments worth almost EUR 1 billion will be made in the main airports and the critical air infrastructure in Romania by 2024, according to public data analyzed by ONV LAW specialists. The largest airports are carrying out major investment projects worth over EUR 530 million, while another EUR 400 million will soon be invested in critical air infrastructure.
Some of the projects have been underway since 2022, with most of the investments to be absorbed by 2024. Financing comes from local funds or the state budget, but the European funds accessed by the authorities also have a significant weight in the development of the local air infrastructure.
The investments are made as the flow of passengers transiting Romania on air routes is increasing, but also as a result of strategic decisions to strengthen NATO bases in the country amid recent geo-political developments.
According to the ONV LAW analysis, Bucharest’s Henri Coandă International Airport, Brașov Airport, and the airports of Craiova, Iași, Cluj-Napoca, or Constanța are among the biggest beneficiaries.
The list is dominated by the Henri Coandă Airport, which benefits from an investment of EUR 163 million into the modernization of taxiways and expansion of the aircraft parking platform. Works started in stages in 2022, and the completion period is two years.
Next is the new Brașov International Airport, which required investments of EUR 130 million. The airport is set to become operational on June 15, 2023.
Meanwhile, EUR 100 million is being invested in the construction of a new terminal at Craiova Airport (with end-2024 as the deadline), investments of EUR 61 million are being made to expand Iași Airport’s existing terminals (with end-2023 as the deadline), and EUR 27 million is invested in the modernization and expansion of the passenger terminal and the modernization of the boarding-disembarkation platform and the Alfa taxiway of the Tulcea Airport.
The Avram Iancu International Airport of Cluj-Napoca is also expanding its departures terminal under an investment of EUR 46 million, while the Constanța International Airport is set to build a new terminal, control tower, and parking lot with EUR 37 million (the project is being tendered, and the term of execution is seven months).
Another EUR 17 million is invested in a new departure terminal for foreign flights at the Timișoara International Airport.
“Also, in the critical air infrastructure, major investments of over EUR 400 million will soon be made, in the NATO bases at Câmpia Turzii and Mihail Kogălniceanu, taking into account the latest geo-political developments,” ONV LAW said in the press release.
In 2022, the ONV LAW law firm assisted such major infrastructure projects with an investment volume totaling over EUR 50 million. According to its specialists, the main challenges of projects of this type consist of shorter execution times than those recommended in the feasibility studies due to the late launch of tenders.
“Romania is an important hub both for business trips and medical and even general, seasonal tourism. In the recent regional context and geo-political strategic decisions, we expect an increasingly high volume of investments in critical air infrastructure,” said Alina Bilan, ONV LAW Partner and public procurement specialist.
The flow of passengers at Romania’s airports has returned close to pre-pandemic values. If in 2019 the number of passengers exceeded 23 million, in 2020, the annual flow was just over 7 million, with a slight increase recorded in 2021 (11 million). In 2022, there was an 87% increase compared to the previous year, with a volume of over 21 million travelers at Romanian airports.
This year, estimates show a record number of passengers – 24 million, while by 2040, the figure could reach the threshold of 50 million travelers.