Airport charge will go down, not increase, says TAIPED

To Vima, eKathimerini, Parakritika — Airport charges per passenger will be reduced at the 14 airports that the Fraport-Sentel consortium is set to undertake this year, as well as all other airports operated by the state, according to state privatisation fund TAIPED.

It was reported earlier this week  that German company Fraport, which recently acquired the management of 14 regional airports for 40 years, will introduce a 13-euro charge (less than the 16 euro charge that was talked about during the negotiations) for all tickets at these airports.

This charge was included in the terms of the concession agreement between the Hellenic State and Fraport. The 14 regional airports are at Aktio, Kavala, Thessaloniki, Kerkyra, Chania, Kefalonia, Kos, Mytilene, Myconos, Rhodes, Samos, Santorini, Skiathos and Zakynthos.

A report in Ta Nea notes that the Ministers of Transport Christos Spirtzis and FinancesEuclid Tsakalotos signed a joint ministerial decision last outlining the technical details on the charge.

According to the agreement, the charge can be maintained for about 4 years, during which point the German company must carry out investments worth 330 million euros at the 14 airports (310 have already been  invested at Chania and Thessaloniki). The 14 regional airports were also included in the so called  ‘Junker Package’, the  European Fund for Strategic Investments which could raise a further 300 million euro for Fraport to invest in the 14 airports.  Further capital expenditure for expansion is to depend on traffic growth. It is not clear what growth assumptions were made in  the deal.

After the investments have been completed, the German company can increase this ticket charge up to 18 euros.

However TAIPED claims that this will not happen. In response to these reports of possible charge hikes,  the privatisation fund TAIPED said that the average charge at state-operated Greek airports today amounts to 12.70 euros per departing passenger. The maximum airport charge per passenger provided by the concession contract with the consortium amounts to 13 euros per passenger, including the charge for the modernisation and development of airports (TEAA). It could rise to 18.50 euros once the airport investments are completed.

At present, passengers on flights heading outside the European Union pay a charge of 22 euros, and those within the EU pay 12 euros each. TAIPED announced this will be immediately reduced to a flat rate of 12 euros for every flight, applying to departures from all Greek airports up until October 2024, before dropping to 3 euros from November 1, 2024.

Meanwhile, the Infrastructure Ministry is yet to transform the Civil Aviation Authority into an independent body, which is a necessary condition for the transfer of the 14 airports to the Fraport-led consortium, which must be completed by the end of the year.