Deputy Economy Minister Stergios Pitsiorlas conceded on Friday that the government is in the process of examining a list of problems that Fraport Greece identified and resolved at the 14 regional airports it took control of in spring, adding that if the German-led consortium can offer proof of the problems the state will pay any compensation that is due.
Responding to a report in German magazine Der Spiegel late on Thursday that Fraport will seek damages of 70 million euros due to the poor state of the airports it received, Pitsiorlas told Skai TV that if Fraport can supply evidence of problems then the Greek side will have to honor the concession contract and undertake its financial responsibilities.
Pitsiorlas – the former head of state sell-off fund TAIPED, which arranged for the concession – sought to play down the issue, avoiding any reference to the damages the state might have to pay and saying that the Fraport demand is being examined by a committee. He added that such technical issues often emerge in many contracts and just as Athens expects the consortium to pay its annual rent for the airports, the Greek side respects its own obligations.
Kathimerini reported on Friday that Fraport has submitted to the Civil Aviation Authority a detailed list of damage to the buildings and infrastructure of the 14 airports which had occurred between the date the final bid was submitted and the date when the concession period started and the terminals were handed over to Fraport.
Speaking at an event last week, the chief executive of Fraport Greece, Alexander Zinell, revealed the consortium has found and replaced 12,200 broken light bulbs and 1,287 fire extinguishers and installed 81 new air conditioning systems. In total it had to carry out 7,765 repairs, of which 2,900 were corrective interventions, 4,650 were precautionary actions and another 200 works concerned small-scale restoration.
German state radio Deutsche Welle reported on Friday that Fraport was particularly annoyed by the fact that the Greek government had avoided conducting the necessary maintenance work at the 14 airports in the months before their delivery to the consortium. The report said that besides the bulbs and fire extinguishers, Fraport had had to replace key equipment such as a baggage screening system at one of the airports that was faulty, and where luggage had been allowed onto aircraft without being checked.