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Greek Island airports to be sold off

- by Dave Sewell

Greek Island airports to be sold off.

Many popular Greek holiday islands look set to see their airports privatised as Greece tries to raise more bailout cash. Around 20 regional airports in Greece are to be split into two groups to pave the way for private investors to take control of the state-owned facilities for a period of about 35 years.

It may mean that many small Greek island airports may end up closed if buyers cannot be found to take them over.

The deal is part of a drive by the Greek government to meet the terms of the austerity package demanded by Europe and the International Monetary Fund to shore up Greek finances and stave off bankruptcy.

One group will include Greek airports at Thessaloniki, Corfu, Zakynthos, Kefalonia, Kavala and Chania on Crete.

The second group will be mainly made up of airports on the Greek islands of Rhodes, Kos, Mykonos, Samos, Santorini, Skiathos and Lesvos.

Private companies will be invited to bid for the operation and development of the airports while the state retains site ownership and monitoring rights through the Civil Aviation Authority.

Tenders have already gone out to potential operators and the contracts are thought to be for 30 to 35 years with options to extend the contracts after they end.

Crucial to the deals is an option for investors to use vacant land around the airports to build shopping and other commercial complexes.

Private investors will also be expected to bring the airports up to the highest standards as seen at Athens International Airport and it is thought that this alone will cost at least €200 million for each airport.