|France's VINCI Airports confident in Ljubljana Airport development|
The French based concession holder and operator VINCI Airports has publicly revealed plans to acquire Ljubljana Jože Pučnik Airport, which the Slovenian government hopes to sell this summer. VINCI, which runs 23 airports across France, Portugal and Cambodia, says it can help develop Ljubljana Airport. “We are confident that we can contribute to the development of Ljubljana Airport. If we purchase it, the airport will retain its name and location and will not become French overnight”, VINCI Airports Chairman, Nicolas Notebaert, said in a statement. Mr. Notebaert added the company’s main acquisition model is through Public Private Partnerships (PPP).
"Our main goal is to establish a decentralised model, where Ljubljana is at the centre, not a branch of the airports in Paris or Lisbon", the VINCI Airports Chairman said. He added one of the company’s key objectives would be to grow traffic at Slovenia’s busiest airport, “The growth in traffic and investments go hand in hand. It is a model used everywhere". Mr. Notebaert noted the European Commission’s ruling on whether Adria Airways’ received illegal state aid contrary to competition laws, which is expected to come soon, will not impact on VINCI’s decision to purchase the airport. “Growth and development cannot be attributed to a single airline. Regardless of Adria Airways’ fate, our decision to purchase the airport will remain unaffected”, he said.
More than twenty companies have expressed interest to purchase a 75% stake in Ljubljana Jože Pučnik Airport. Among them are airlines, airports and pension funds, as well as investment groups specialising in restructuring companies for later sale. Among the interested parties is Asia’s busiest carrier, China Southern Airlines, as well as the Fraport Group, which manages Frankfurt Airport. Others who have expressed strong interest to bid for Slovenia’s busiest airport include Munich Airport, Zurich Airport, French engineering and consulting group Egis, as well as Italy’s SAVE which manages Venice Marco Polo Airport, Treviso Airport, Verona Airport and is the part operator of Charleroi Airport in Belgium. The sale of Jože Pučnik Airport is expected to be finalised during the summer. A new owner will have to address the issue of constructing of a new terminal building. Late last year, the airport’s minority shareholders, mostly made up of banks, rejected plans for the construction of a new terminal, which was pitched by the state.