Athens Airport could pass into Chinese hands

By Vangelis Mandravelis

While the government?s talks with Hochtief Airport about the extension of its concession contract for Athens International Airport continue, there are indications that Greece?s main terminal will soon be passed on to Chinese owners.

Sources suggest that the sale process of German airport management company, which owns a 40 percent stake in Athens Airport and carries out management duties, is at an advanced stage with China?s HNA Group.

?The Chinese have submitted the highest bid, but have also set the most terms,? a well-informed source said. One of the terms concerns the extension of the contract for Athens Airport for the 2026-46 period.

Negotiations between the Greeks and the Germans about Athens Airport are heating up, despite the two deadlines set by the Greek side for September 30 and October 5, both of which Hochtief missed. The Greek government is asking for 500 million euros, while Hochtief is insisting on 400 million. Their difference is on the assessment of the airport?s cost of equity.

The Germans are banking on the Greek state?s need for privatization revenues, while Greece is relying on Hochtief?s intention to sell its Airport subsidiary.