Maribor sale fails but Germanic ticket tax raises hopesThe Slovenian Transport Ministry has received no bids for the offered 30 year lease of the state owned Maribor Edvard Rusjan Airport, the Slovenian state agency reports. This is the second time the call for bids has failed. Under Slovenian law, the ministry is now permitted to enter direct negotiations with potential bidders. At the failed tender, the winning bidder was offered a 30 year lease of the airport’s infrastructure. The tenant would also have become the new manager of the airport which is currently not served by any airline (with exception to the odd charter flight). Maribor Airport is currently leased to the Aerodrom Maribor company, owned by the bankrupt car seat cover maker “Prevent”.
The national postal service “Pošta Slovenije” was most interested in the lease, although Adria Airways also expressed interest. However, both were unhappy with the terms of the lease. The “Daily Večer” newspaper reports that the two potential bidders realised there would be no competition and decided to wait for direct talks with the Government to take place, which could cut the price by up to 20%.
Maribor could have a chance to attract more airlines and passengers as neighbouring Austria and nearby Germany introduce a ticket tax. In Austria, airlines have vowed to pass extra costs on to customers after the Government’s announcement to set up a tax on tickets. The Government explained it hoped to rake in around 60 million Euros a year from 2011 with the new levy. Airlines are furious with the new tax and are threatening to terminate many services. The low cost Ryanair has announced that it will cut flights by 30% from Frankfurt by the 2011 summer season and reduce the number of aircraft based at the airport due to the new levy. Austrian media believe that the tax will benefit Slovenian airports.