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Fate of Bratislava airport unclear

THE TRANSPORT Ministry has not yet decided on how Bratislava’s M. R. Štefánik Airport will operate in the future. The ministry is still analysing the pros and cons of a possible long-term lease of Slovakia’s biggest airport to a private operator via a concession, the SITA newswire wrote on April 7.

THE TRANSPORT Ministry has not yet decided on how Bratislava’s M. R. Štefánik Airport will operate in the future. The ministry is still analysing the pros and cons of a possible long-term lease of Slovakia’s biggest airport to a private operator via a concession, the SITA newswire wrote on April 7.

“Regardless of this process, the current situation remains valid for the airport,” said ministry spokesman Martin Kóňa, as cited by SITA, adding that the airport’s task remains boosting passenger air traffic and achieving the best possible results.

The ministry’s original plan was to lease the airport for 30 years. According to earlier published information, based on preliminary results of an analysis, the lease would not pay off because the airport needs big investments for modernisation. As the investor would have been required to finance the modernisation, the state would receive only a marginal sum for leasing it. Moreover, the airport continues to operate at a loss, even though it decreased its loss by over €6.2 million in 2013, down from 2012’s loss of €13.41 million.

The ministry has not changed its stance regarding the future operation of local, small airports.
“Our priority is to keep the current network of regional airports,” said Kóňa. “We see potential especially in their chance to contribute significantly to the development of tourism in Slovakia and bring more tourists to the regions [of Slovakia].”

In 2014, the Transport Ministry has at its disposal €1 million to support regional airports, which is €5 million less than the previous year.

“It is our ambition to find more money for them and keep them operational,” said Kóňa. “But the final decision does not depend only on us.”

Kóňa recalled that subsidies are not the only source of money for airports and that local administrations should be especially interested in their operation.

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