New beginning for Zagreb Airport
The French led consortium, Zagreb Airport Internatonal Company (ZAIC), has taken control of Zagreb Airport today over the next thirty years after it signed a concession agreement with the Croatian government which came into effect at midnight. “The French consortium ZAIC will take over Zagreb Airport on Thursday. All conditions have been met with the first two million euros deposited, which was one of the preconditions of the takeover”, Siniša Hajdaš Dončić, the Croatian Minister for Sea, Transport and Infrastructure, said earlier. The two sides also agreed on terms and conditions should the concession agreement be terminated prior to 2043. The original takeover was planned to take place in April but was delayed due to a range of reasons.
The new owners of Zagreb Airport have committed to building a brand new passenger terminal within the next 36 months starting today, meaning a new state of the art facility should be opened for commercial use by early December 2016. ZAIC estimates Zagreb will see passenger growth of 8% next year and will attract new airlines as well as its first transatlantic flights in years. Etihad Regional is the first new airline to announce flights to Zagreb next year. Furthermore, ZAIC will pay up to fifteen million euros to the Croatian government and other minority shareholders. Some 300 million euros will be invested into Zagreb Airport under the concession agreement. ZAIC is led by Aéroports de Paris Management (a 100% owned subsidiary of Aéroports de Paris) and Bouygues Bâtiment International (a subsidiary of Bouygues Construction). The four additional shareholders are Viadukt (a Croatian construction company), International Financial Corporation (IFC), Marguerite (a European investment fund) and TAV (the Turkish airport operator).
Labour unions are still unhappy with the takeover. Two weeks ago employees shut down Zagreb Airport for almost two days to voice their dissatisfaction with the concession. A temporary court injunction halted further planned industrial action. Subsequently, the court ruled the strike was illegal. The unions have lodged an appeal against the ruling with the High Court. Employees fear that by transferring to the new company - Zagreb Airport International Company - they will be forced to work for lower wages and will be subject to dismissal. The company has denied such claims.