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COOPERATION TO START BETWEEN AIRPORTS

Done deal

After four years of negotiations, Bratislava's M.R. Štefaník Airport and Vienna's Schwechat Airport have officially agreed to join forces and serve an area of up to 14 million people. Officials from the two airports, which are only 40 kilometers away from each other, expect the relationship to provide Bratislava with sorely needed passenger and cargo business, while Vienna gains the flexibility to expand without a massive investment. One system for the two airports would be far more efficient, according to Igor Dula, director of the Slovak Airport Authority. "There could be profits for both by sharing passengers, carriers, equipment and know-how," Dula said.


Gateway to Central Europe. A title both the Bratislava and Vienna airports hope to share.
Photo courtesy of M.R. Štefánik Airport Bratislava

After four years of negotiations, Bratislava's M.R. Štefaník Airport and Vienna's Schwechat Airport have officially agreed to join forces and serve an area of up to 14 million people.

Officials from the two airports, which are only 40 kilometers away from each other, expect the relationship to provide Bratislava with sorely needed passenger and cargo business, while Vienna gains the flexibility to expand without a massive investment.

One system for the two airports would be far more efficient, according to Igor Dula, director of the Slovak Airport Authority. "There could be profits for both by sharing passengers, carriers, equipment and know-how," Dula said.

Bratislava's airport is especially interested in increasing its passenger traffic, because although it opened a new terminal in 1994 that could handle 1.8 million passengers annually, the airport only serviced 140,000 last year, Dula said. Schwechat, in contrast, saw 300,000 people come from Slovakia to board outbound planes during the same period, Dula added.

Some Slovaks working at the airport are concerned that a partnership with the bigger, wealthier Vienna airport will cause Bratislava's airfield to end up as a kind of dumping ground for Vienna's least desirable and profitable business. They fear that noisy, night flights will be diverted to Bratislava, while Vienna keeps all the plumbs for itself. But both Dula and [FIRST NAME?] Mayer, a spokesman for Vienna's airport, said such an unbalanced arrangement would not be in anyone's interest and will not arise.

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