ECONOMY

Regional airports draw interest from 11 bidders

Eleven consortiums have expressed an interest in taking over the operation of Greek regional airports and have until the end of September to submit binding bids for the two clusters of airports that the state privatization fund (TAIPED) has put up for private utilization.

The first stage of the tender attracted non-binding interest from companies based in France, Germany, Switzerland, Turkey, Israel and Argentina. They are:

* Aeroport Nice Cote d’Azur, operator of France’s third-buseist airport;

* Agrokor Novaport Development (Croatia);

* Engelinvest Israel Ltd, an Israeli real estate company;

* A consortium comprising Turkey’s Global Liman Isletmeler and Germany’s Flughafen Munchen;

* A consortium comprising Zurich Airport and Greek construction company J&P Avax;

* Athens International Airport;

* A consortium comprising the Greek Copelouzos Group and Fraport AG, operator of Frankfurt Airport. The two firms are also members of a consortium that won a 30-year concession for Russia’s Pulkovo Airport in St Petersburg;

* TAV, the Turkish company that operates Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport;

* A consortium comprising French construction group Vinci with Greek peer Ellaktor – a cooperation that points to a joint bid for the upcoming tender for Kasteli Airport on Crete;

* The consortium of Corporacion America with Greek construction firm METKA. The Argentinean company operates 49 airports internationally;

* US investment group Advent.

The tender’s terms provide for contractors to undertake the operation of airports for 30 years with an option for another 10 and the possibility for a further extension if there is sufficient interest. Contractors will also have to implement investments in the infrastructure of airports for the first three years, estimated at 220 million euros.

The first cluster includes the airports of Thessaloniki, Corfu, Hania, Cephalonia, Zakynthos, Aktio and Kavala, while the second includes those of Rhodes, Kos, Samos, Mytilene, Myconos, Santorini and Skiathos. Up to the publication of the invitation for offers, TAIPED can add up to three airports out of those at Alexandroupoli, Araxos, Kalamata and Nea Anchialos in the first group, and up to three from those at Chios, Karpathos, Nea Anchialos and Limnos in the second.