Chania Airport may be excluded from privatization deal

Part of the new demands placed on the Greek government by the creditors, is the completion of three privatisation deals started by the previous government before the election. These are: the privatization of 51% of stocks of Piraeus Port and Thessaloniki Ports , the selling of Hellenic Railways and the controversial completion of the deal agreed with Fraport for a 40 year concession to run 14 regional airports.

While Chania international was included in the original bundle, it is now believed that it may be left out of the deal.

The works for the expansion of Chania Airport have not yet been completed and it is believed works that stopped almost two months ago, will restart by the end of August. It is hoped that the expansion will be completed by the end of 2015.

The reasons for the apparent change in the terms of the Fraport deal have not been made clear, as there is no official government announcement on the matter.  In the past it has been argued the privatisation of Chania Airport contravenes EU regulations as the €110 million grant from European development funds constitutes an illegal indirect subsidy to a private company.

The airport’s dual use as a civilian and military airport may have been another reason that persuaded the lenders to agree with the Greek government to leave the profitable Chania airport out of the deal.

Whatever the reason the decision – if it is confirmed – is good news for passengers who will not be facing the planned additional surcharges on departure to fund the ‘additional investment’ and for low cost operators like Ryanair who were also unhappy with the Fraport deal.