The consortium that won a $52m contract to expand Split airport in Croatia has lost it because it included a few Slovenian terms in its tender bid document.
Split Airport had awarded the contract to Tehnika, a contractor from Zagreb, and Kolektor Koling from Slovenia after it put in the lowest bid for the work. However, the second placed consortium objected to the decision on the grounds that its rival had used some terms in Slovenian, whereas the terms of the tender required it to be in Croatian, Total Croatia News reports.
The State Commission for Supervision of Public Procurement Procedures then read the 5,500 items in the cost estimate and found that in four places the wrong language had indeed been used. Among them, was the use of "pomenutog" – the Slovenian for "mentioned" – instead of the Croatian verb "spomenutog".
It also used the Slovenian terms for "Department for Guarantees" and "deputy director and head of department".
Croatian and Slovenian belong to different branches of the South Slavic languages group.
The infractions were enough for the state commission to annul the tender process and require that the competition be rerun.
During the summer, an aircraft takes off or lands every five minutes (Ballota/Creative Commons)
Pero Bilas, the airport’s assistant director, said: "The process is ongoing and we do not intend to comment. We fully respect the procedure and the Public Procurement Law, and we will make a new decision. Our primary goal is to find a contractor as soon as possible and start with the works."
The second place consortium included Kamgrad and Viadukt, both from Zagreb, and KFK Tehnika from Dugo Selo. It had bid 346m kuna for the work compared with the winner’s 339m kuna.
The airport is hoping to relieve its capacity crisis by adding 35,000 square metres to its terminal. It also plans to install an extended outdoor parking lot, a footbridge, and new roads and service areas. It would then be able to increase the number of passengers it can accommodate from 2 million to 3.5 million a year.
Despite the risk of a legal challenge to the legal challenge, the airport hopes that the delay in selecting a contractor will not prevent it completing the work in time for the 2018 tourist season.
Top image: The airport hopes to increase capacity by 1.5 million (Ballota/Creative Commons)