In April, the never-ending optimism about the growth of the Bratislava airport and how it would increase passenger numbers finally ran out. After five years, the numbers finally started to fall - not by a large amount, but it showed that Vienna airport is managing to attract money and passengers from Bratislava.
There are two alternatives for the airport. The first is the 'Dzurinda' alternative: Privatization to Penta Investments and Vienna Airport, which already won a controversial tender by promising to pay Sk10 billion and invest the same again. Of course, the consortium would also get the airport land to use for hotels and administrative space, but the quality of the airport would be dramatically improved. However, the Fico government cancelled the tender.
The second, 'Fico' alternative called for the airport to stay in state hands and to be run by unskilled Smer party managers. The state got no money from any sale, and had to find funds to invest in developing the property. This alternative also survived only a few months.
Now, following several meetings between Fico and Austrian politicians, we have a new alternative - a joint Bratislava/Vienna airport company. Obviously, Fico objected more to the presence of Penta in the airport tender than any possible impact on competition from Vienna. Given that Vienna airport will not spend a single euro unless it gets long-term control, this is a form of hidden privatization.
Pravda, May 17
21. May 2007 at 0:00 | Jana Morháčová