BUSINESS

Regional airports were neglected before being acquired by Fraport

ILIAS BELLOS

The runway at Rhodes airport had to close for an hour due to a 15-centimeter crack in its surface.

TAGS: Privatizations, Transport

When an earthquake rattled Kos in July, the terminal building of the Aegean island’s airport was full of people. As the ground shook, everyone rushed for the exits leading to the runway. The evacuation was quick and successful. “Until three months ago those exits were secured fast, locked with chains,” an airport official told Kathimerini. “Imagine what could have happened if the quake struck then.”

Fraport Greece has had to make numerous interventions at the 14 regional airports whose operations it took over in April, including fixing systems that open emergency exits and light up emergency exit signs.

“The financial crisis, combined with the long period between the tender for the concession of the airports and their delivery to Fraport Greece, resulted in the de facto abandonment of infrastructure in terms of maintenance and repair work,” according to a source in the airline business.

The situation as far as runways are concerned is worse. “They all need to be dug up and resurfaced,” a Civil Aviation Authority veteran told Kathimerini. Three weeks ago a crack of more than 15 centimeters on the runway at Rhodes airport meant it had to be closed for an hour so repair work could be carried out. Fraport will resurface all runways at the 14 airports, starting with Myconos next month.
 

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