BUSINESS

Greek regional airports offer improved services

ILIAS BELLOS

TAGS: Travel, Transport

Services at 14 regional Greek airports have markedly improved since German transport company Fraport took over their operations on April 12, 2017. There’s more space, including for commercial concessions, more check-in points and more gates.

The overall boom in tourism has something to do with, but it’s a fact that those airports saw record traffic of 29.877 million passengers in 2018, up 8.9 percent on 2017 (27.433 million). Of course one can say that the improvement in services had a role in attracting tour operators and airlines.

The number of domestic passengers passing through those airports increased a modest 1.2 percent to 6.962 million, but international traffic rose 11.5 percent to 20.55 million. The greatest increases were observed on Santorini (16.8 percent) and Mykonos (15.6 percent). The rise is expected to continue this year, although at a slower pace.

Fraport and its partner, Greek energy group Copelouzos, paid 1.23 billion euros for the 40-year concession of the 14 airports; they are also paying an annual concession fee of 22.9 million until they finish investing in refurbishment (after that, the fee will be equal to 28.5 percent of operating profit); and they also pay 13 million a year to Greece’s fire service and the air force for their services. Since the concession, they have also paid 21.2 million in social security contributions and payroll taxes and 21.3 million in income and other taxes; another 15.2 million is estimated to be paid in 2019.

Fraport Greece, the joint Fraport/Copelouzos company, posted turnover of 414.8 million euros, with earnings before interest, taxes depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) of 146.8 million and net profit of 1.8 million.

Fraport Greece is also implementing a 415-million-euro investment program to upgrade the 14 airports; four are ready and five more will be finished by the end of the year, while the rest will be completed by 2021. Mykonos, for example, will not only be expanded, but redesigned too, to conform to local architecture. When the upgrades are done, usable space will increase 50 percent.

Thessaloniki’s Makedonia Airport is the most ambitious project, with 24 departure gates and seven baggage carousels planned and 45 percent more check-in points.

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