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EBRD, EIB to streamline Serbia's air traffic with €140 million

Belgrade, April 20, 2003 - Serbian Minister of Transport and Telecommunications Marija Raseta-Vukosavljevic told Sunday's issue of Belgrade daily Politika that at least €140 million will be invested in the development of Serbia's air traffic over the next few years. According to Raseta-Vukosavljevic, the European Investment Bank (EIB) has approved a €100 million loan for the improvement of air traffic control, while the European bank for Reconstruction and Development will help upgrade the Belgrade airport with up to €40 million.

On the importance of the recently re-established cooperation with the International Civil Aviation Organisation:

This would help us adjust to the policy of "open sky" and regain air traffic control over Kosovo-Metohija's air space, at altitudes exceeding 10,000 metres. To regain control over that area would be of national as well as economic significance for Serbia, as that would boost revenues from overflight fees.

On investing in air traffic control:

First, it necessary to invest in state-of-the-art equipment, to raise aircraft safety to the highest possible level. Second, with a faster procedure of receiving and dispatching planes in our air space, we can count on a larger number of overflights and higher revenues. That's why EIB has disbursed a €100 million loan for the modernisation of air traffic control.

On the reconstruction of the Belgrade airport:

The Belgrade airport will undergo complex renovation works. The implementation of a project called "The Gates of Belgrade" will be launched in early October this year, with a €40 million loan from EBRD. The project envisions that the old and the new buildings be attached and made into one single facility that would enable the dispatch of a much larger number of passengers than is the case now. The project should be completed by April 2004. The airport's excellent location, with the river Danube, a motorway, and the Corridor 10 railway links, enables the creation of a cargo centre to serve the needs of the entire region. For that purpose, the airport will soon be linked to the railway, and a new junction will be built to connect it to the motorway. These favourable conditions open the door for further investment including the opening of foreign companies' outlets and the like.

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