|Fraport to modernise Ljubljana Airport and avoid regional acquisitions|
German operator Fraport, which purchased a 75.5% stake in Ljubljana Airport last Friday, and intends to acquire the remaining 24.5%, has promised a long term investment in Slovenia’s busiest airport. Fraport CEO Stefan Schulte says the airport will be upgraded and modernised but stopped short of committing to building a new terminal in the near future. According to Mr. Schulte, Fraport is a long-term investor who is not looking for short-term benefits. The new owner intends to develop both passenger and cargo traffic at the airport. Mr. Schulte expects that Ljubljana Jože Pučnik Airport will continue to record growth in both segments. Fraport’s first task will be to provide an even better service to passengers and the German operator has committed itself to modernising the current passenger terminal. Mr. Schulte also expects the number of employees to grow at the airport as business expands.
However, projects for the construction of a new terminal and a new runway will depend on passenger growth and are not planned in the near future. Last year, the airport‘s minority shareholders, which are about to sell their stake to Fraport, rejected a government plan to build a new terminal at the airport. The CEO of Jože Pučnik Airport, Zmago Skobir, believes the acquisition on behalf of Fraport is a major milestone in the airport’s development. Mr. Skobir expects new airlines and routes to come following the deal. The Slovenian Sovereign Holding (SDH), which handled the sales process, says, "We have achieved the highest price possible and exceeded our original expectations. It is a case of good practice and time will show that the selected buyer is capable of ensuring optimal development of the airport".
Meanwhile, Fraport has ruled out any further acquisitions in the former Yugoslavia following comments made by the Serbian government that the German operator had expressed interest in Belgrade Airport. “The company has no plans of acquiring some of the other airports in the region, and will focus only on Ljubljana”, Fraport said. As part of the sale, the company which manages one of Europe's biggest hubs, Frankfurt Airport, will be granted a forty year lease on most of the land on which Ljubljana Airport’s infrastructure is located.