Greece’s Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Christos Spirtzis criticized the German-Greek consortium Fraport Hellas that has leased 14 regional airports since the beginning of the year. “Fraport does not operate the airports better than the Civil Aviation, we have problems even with the cleanness in the toilets,” Spirtzis said in an interview with Athens News Agency ANA.
“The Fraport consortium has not proceeded with the planned investments, we have even problems with the toilets cleanness which in many airports is worse than we used to see in the past,” the minister said.
A dispute with roots that go deep down the toilets and beyond the flush seems to have broken out between Fraport and the Greek state. The problem refers to the new landing and taking off corridors at Makedonia airport in Thessaloniki, currently under construction.
“Fraport has to understand that it is an airport management company and not a company that can tell the country what infrastructure works need to be done or not. It should refrain from remarks about what projects should be done as these projects are included in the contract and are also co-funded with the European Union,” Spirtzis said adding before signing the contract the consortium had all the time to make a point.”
To tell you the truth I was not able to find out what exactly the dispute is. I think I can vaguely reckon that was indeed an issue with the corridors at Makedonia airport but I don’t know exactly and am a bit much too busy for a search in my archives.
Nevertheless, surfing the internet for the corridors dispute, I stumbled upon an Fraport in Greece article published on the website of German state-radio Deutschlandfunk.The article notes among others that the 40-years leasing contract is more profitable for the German-Greek consortium than for the Greek state.
Citing CEO of Fraport Hellas, Alexander Zinell, DLF notes that according to terms and conditions of the agreement
- Fraport is not responsible for refurbishment works, “that have arisen due to lack of maintenance”
- Fraport does not have to pay taxes and sewage charges
- The Greek state has to compensate Fraport if electricity or telecommunication fees increase or when laws are passed at the expense of the consortium.
A unionist summarized the situation telling DLF “Fraport keeps the profits, the Greek states comes up for the risks.” He said that the state has to compensate the airport employees once they do not work anymore for the consortium. The unionist said 8 billion euros would have been a fair deal.
The consortium paid the Greek Privatization Fund 1.2 billion euros, the majority of the amount – one billion – came through loans from Greek banks. The consortium is obliged to pay the Greek state 22 million euros per year.
Spirtzis criticism to Fraport came one day after Canadian gold miner Eldorado Gold claimed to suspend mine operations in Northern Greece. In the same interview, Minister Spirtzis said ‘neither the European nor the Greek legislation will be changed becasue Eldorado Gold wants so.”
No wonder the Greeks are angry at the privatization agreements they had to sign under the lenders’ immense pressure.
I am not sure whether I should now post a poll asking about the status of the toilets during the summer months at the 14 regional airports under the new management.
However, I seem to have found the evidence that Fraport is neglecting the sanitation infrastructure at least at one airport, the one on the island of Kos.
The evidence picture was uploaded by a Greek journalist on August 31st 2017.
Το αεροδρόμιο Κω το έχει η Fraport από Απρίλιο και προβλέπεται έναρξη έργων Οκτωβριο. Θα μπορούσαν βέβαια να φτιάξουν τις τουαλέτες pic.twitter.com/Da61hsx2cE
— Kostas Giannakidis (@kgiannakidis) August 31, 2017
Fraport has the Kos airport since April, works planned to start in October, but they could at least fix the toilets.
A respondent to the above tweet posted an excerpt from the consortium website where the company listed what it was supposed to do before the begin of the [touristic] summer season. Fixing toilets and cleaning is among Fraport duties.
Oh! And installing free Wi-Fi connections. Here I remember somebody complained about the Wi-Fi connection on social media. And he wasn’t even Greek.
— JeanMichelHauteville (@JMHauteville) August 29, 2017
He is en editor at the German econonomic news daily Handelsblatt. #PHEW.