SOFIA, Oct 4 (Reuters) - Bulgaria has extended the deadline for submitting bids to run and operate Sofia airport by a month to Nov. 22, after several requests for clarification about the concession contract, the Transport Ministry said on Thursday.
The government re-launched the tender in July after the original 35-year-old concession plan was scrapped under an interim government which held office for three months in 2017.
"The deadline is extended by a month after some operators asked for changes in the concession documentation to be made," ministry's spokesman Kostadin Vardev told Reuters, adding that bids would be opened on Nov. 23.
Bulgaria's Transport Ministry has said it expects the airport that is now run by the state to generate revenue of 3.46 billion euros ($3.97 billion) over the whole period.
Manchester Airports Group (MAG), Britain's largest airport group, said on Wednesday it planned to bid, saying its offer would be supported by Beijing Construction Engineering Group (BCEG), a Chinese state-owned construction company.
Bulgarian media reported that 18 companies or groups were interested in the concession, which the opposition Socialist Party want cancelled because it says the airport built by the taxpayer is a national security asset.
German airport operator Fraport, which has stakes in airports in the Bulgarian cities of Varna and Burgas, and Switzerland's Flughafen Zuerich told Reuters they were following the process but did not say if they would bid.
Before the previous tender was scrapped, Turkey's Limak Holding, Russia's VTB Capital and Flughafen Zuerich showed interest in a joint bid, sources had said.
Turkish airports group TAV, in which French Groupe ADP has a stake, also expressed an interest in the previous tender, Bulgarian media reported. The company was not available for immediate comment when contacted by Reuters.
$1 = 0.8714 euros Reporting by Angel Krasimirov Editing by Edmund Blair