The current technical state of Bratislava's M. R. Štefánik airport and the absence of meaningful development are leading to a "quiet privatisation" of the airport, opposition SDKU-DS MP and former transport minister Pavol Prokopovič said at a press conference on October 24.
"(This is) not the sale of a 66-percent stake to a strategic partner, as we planned based on a transparent tender monitored by an international supervisor, and for Sk20 billion (€600 million). There's something else going on here," said Prokopovic, adding that the Government may be intending to let the airport out, while offering the holder of the lease a preferential right of purchase.
Prokopovič also said that the number of passengers using the airport has fallen, and pointed to its deteriorating economic results. The airport's situation is also characterised, according to Prokopovič, by personnel changes.
The former government awarded the airport privatisation to the TwoOne consortium at the beginning of 2006. The current Government vetoed the privatisation, however, with one of the reasons given being fears that consortium member Vienna Schwechat airport could attempt to stifle competition in the region.
Transport, Posts and Telecommunication Minister Ľubomír Vážny on October 24 said that such allegations were absolute nonsense. According to Vážny, the transport sector plans to boost the airport, adding that the investment plan is ready, but he had provided the new management with a sufficient time space for its assessment. There are two alternatives at stake. The airport will either take out a loan, or a joint company with majority owned by state will be created. The Transport Ministry negotiates with several interested domestic and foreign subjects. Vienna Airport, Minister said, is one of the potential applicants, however, the negotiations haven't resulted in anything yet. TASR
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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25. Oct 2007 at 7:00