Greece to review regional airports lease deal, says minister

Greece plans to review a 1.2 billion euro deal for German airport operator Fraport to run 14 regional airports, one of Greece’s biggest privatisation deals since its debt crisis began in 2009, the state minister said on Saturday.

Fraport, in partnership with Greek energy firm Copelouzos, agreed with the Greek privatisation agency in 2014 to run airports in popular tourist destinations like Corfu. It expected to close its agreement with Athens in October.

“It (the deal) has not been sealed,» Alekos Flabouraris told Greek TV. «We said it will be halted and we will review it.”

The German-Greek group was expected to spend about 330 million euros in the first four years to upgrade the airports, that will be leased for 40 years.

Greece’s new leftist government has sought to cancel key terms of Athens’s 240 billion euro bailout programme from the EU and IMF, including what it calls the «crime» of selling off strategic national assets.

Since taking power in January, it stopped the sale of Piraeus port, the country’s biggest, and the privatisations of dominant power utility PPC and state natural gas company DEPA.

It has also said it will take steps to halt a Canadian-run gold mine project and aims to cancel a development scheme at Athens’s former Hellenikon airport.