The second and most decisive step for the concession to operate the country’s 14 regional airports was completed on Monday as the state sell-off fund (TAIPED) and the consortium comprising German group Fraport and Slentel (a unit of the Greek Copelouzos energy group) signed the contracts for the terminals’ concession. The agreement includes the obligation for the investor to improve the airports’ infrastructure.
TAIPED president Stergios Pitsiorlas said in a press release that the signing of the contracts constitutes a further step toward strengthening the Greek economy’s position in international markets.
Fraport board chairman Stefan Schulte thanked TAIPED and the Greek government and described the signing of the contracts as a landmark. “We are proud that the government and TAIPED have trusted the Fraport-Copelouzos consortium for the project of bolstering the competitiveness of these airports in the coming decades,” he said.
The package of 14 airports features most of the country’s main terminals outside the capital, including those of Thessaloniki, Myconos, Santorini and Zakynthos. However, for the contracts to be activated there are certain conditions that remain to be fulfilled. These concern the approval of the contracts by the European Commission and their ratification by the Greek Parliament, the issue of a presidential decree confirming the airports’ zoning plans, the delivery of the airports by the Civil Aviation Authority to the preferred bidder, and of a number of letters of guarantee to the state, and the payment of the lump sum payment of 1.23 billion euros. The deal is expected to be finalized by October or November 2016, after the end of the peak tourism season for Greece.
Infrastructure Minister Christos Spirtzis reiterated his disapproval of the deal despite putting his signature on it: ”I continue to disagree with the way the concession of the 14 airports was conducted. However, this is among the commitments the country has made,” he said, adding that he had signed the contract with “much pain.”