Consultants to set AIA flight path

The Finance Ministry expects to cash in 200-300 million euros this year from the utilization of Athens International Airport (AIA) and will soon reveal the state?s consultants in this task.

According to sources, the consultants will be a Greek bank and a foreign firm and their role will be the definition of the precise amount the state can cash in.

First the consultants will assess the value of the extension to the concession contract between the state and German company Hochtief. The existing contract expires in 2026, and sources have revealed that the government is negotiating its extension by 20 to 30 years.

The next stage will be the utilization of the state?s stake in AIA. Greece holds 55 percent of the airport?s share capital, while Hochtief has 40 percent.

The original idea was for the state and Hochtief to jointly sell a stake to a third investor, or to list the company on the Athens Exchange. However, at the moment the latter would not be ideal given the negative atmosphere. It is certain, though, that the government has not yet decided how to utilize its AIA stake and a unilateral move has not been ruled out by the Finance Ministry.