Frankfurt, Amsterdam bid for Brussels airport

Frankfurt, Amsterdam bid for Brussels airport

The operators of Frankfurt and Amsterdam airports, Europe's largest and third-largest cargo hubs, said they have submitted bids for a controlling stake in Brussels Zaventem, the sixth-ranked freight airport.

The sale of a 70-percent stake in state-controlled Zaventem is expected to raise as much as 700 million euros ($852 million) when the tender process is completed by the end of the year.

The Belgian government controls Zaventem through a 63.6 percent stake in the airport's operator, Biac. It wants to retain a third of the airport's equity while the other shareholders, mainly Belgian financial institutions, want to sell their entire stakes.

Brussels' central location, its strength as an air express hub and expansion capabilities have made it an attractive target for Frankfurt and Amsterdam, which are facing a major challenge from Paris Charles de Gaulle, Europe's second-largest freight airport.

The revival of passenger and cargo traffic has whetted investors' appetite for airports. Frankfurt said Tuesday that freight traffic in May jumped 18.2 percent from the year-earlier period to 147,315 metric tons.