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Transport Ministry rejects SDKÚ criticism of Bratislava Airport plans

The Transport Ministry has dismissed criticism from the opposition on June 5 about its handling of the country's largest airport, in Bratislava.

The Transport Ministry has dismissed criticism from the opposition on June 5 about its handling of the country's largest airport, in Bratislava.

"Their accusations show that they either aren't keeping informed or don't want to keep informed of the activities of the shareholders and heads of M.R. Štefánik Airport," ministry spokesman Marián Janošík told reporters.

SDKÚ lawmakers Pavol Prokopovič (a former transport minister) and Ivan Mikloš (a former finance minister) lashed out at the alleged government inaction on the airport since it blocked its takeover by a private investor after the election in June 2006.

According to Prokopovič, the airport is facing collapse, while Mikloš said that the Fico government had deprived the state budget of Sk11 billion (€364 million) and the airport of the Sk9 billion that the TwoOne consortium - made up of Vienna airport, Slovak private equity firm Penta and Austria's Raiffeisen Zentralbank AG – has offered for a 66-percent stake.

In rebuttal, Janošík noted that the airport was reconstructed in 2007 to allow Slovakia to join the Schengen zone towards the end of that year. He also said the airport's operating company has drawn up a development plan for 2008-2012 worth a total investment of Sk4.9 billion (€162 million). The project is planned for January 2009 after a building permit is obtained and the tender procedures are completed.

Investment plans over the long-term future include the Sk10-billion construction of a multi-storey car park, a rail link, and premises for airlines, with the total funding schedule left open, he said.

Transport Minister Ľubomír Vážny said that banks were ready to render credits for the airport investments. TASR

Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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