Chinese plans to turn Athens airport into a transit hub

By Vangelis Mandravelis

Two Chinese companies have expressed an interest in jointly acquiring a 55-percent stake in Athens International Airport (AIA) in a letter sent to Prime Minister Antonis Samaras in November, ahead of the privatization of Greece’s main terminal.

The letter is signed by the chairmen of Friedmann Pacific Asset Management Ltd and Shenzhen Airport (Group) Co Ltd, and further stresses that their interest extends the airport’s management. The Chinese officials note that they are planning to use their own funds in order to turn the Greek airport into an international transit hub and an entry point for Chinese travelers to Europe.

A tender for the sale of the majority stake including the management of the AIA could attracts other interested parties as well, thereby generating further revenues.

The 55-percent stake belongs to the state, but the Canadians who control 26.7 percent of the airport reserve the right to veto any changes in the operating company’s share capital and are interested in raising their stake in AIA.