ECONOMY

AIA contract to be revised

The government is planning the revision of its contract with Germany’s Hochtief for Athens International Airport (AIA), the ministers of the economy, Giorgos Alogoskoufis, and transport, Michalis Liapis, announced yesterday to representatives of the construction giant which holds a 40 percent stake and management control in the facility. «The Athens Airport services are too expensive and need to be cheaper and more competitive,» Liapis said. The revision issue is a package that includes a new pricing policy, new duration of contract (Hochtief is expected to request its extension to balance out a fall in airport charges) and the airport’s partial privatization. «The privatization will not take place this year,» Alogoskoufis stated. «It will happen next year,» he said, without specifying the stake to go on sale, although economists expect that to be around 10 percent. The state currently holds a 55 percent stake. The ministers added that a committee has been set up with representatives from the state and from Hochtief to examine all issues and make proposals to the government toward its reaching political decisions. Alogoskoufis said that certain conditions must be fulfilled before the airport’s privatization procedures begin. Economic circles expect that to happen in the first quarter of 2006 through the Athens Stock Exchange. The economy minister further ruled out privatization of the Hellenic Railways Organization (OSE) or the suburban railway.