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Greece completes sale of 14 airports to Germany in bailout plan

The airports include those of island tourist hotspots Mykonos, Santorini and Corfu/AFP

Athens, Greece, Apr 12 – Greece said it has finalized the sale of 14 regional airports to Germany’s Fraport agreed in 2015 within the framework of a huge international bailout to prevent the country from crashing out of the eurozone.

In what had been the first major privatisation drive for the government under Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, a deal was reached at the end of 2015 to sell 14 regional airports – including Thessaloniki, and those of island tourist hotspots Mykonos, Santorini and Corfu – to a consortium comprising Fraport and Slentel Ltd for 1.2 billion euros ($1.3 billion).

That deal has now been finalised, with the signature of Greece’s ministers of finance, transport and defence – Euclides Tsakalotos, Christos Spritzis and Panos Kammenos – the Greek privatisation agency said in a statement late Tuesday.

Under the terms of the concession, the Fraport consortium “will use, operate and develop the airports over a period of 40 years.”

The investors are obliged to upgrade the airports within the first four years of the concession and “maintain and preserve service levels for the whole duration.”

The Greek state will retain ownership of all infrastructure and facilities built by the consortium.

It was a “milestone agreement… with overall multiple benefits expected for the Greek economy,” said agency chief Antonis Leousis.

On top of the lump sum of 1.2 billion euros, the consortium will also pay an annual lease of 22.9 million euros, the statement said.

Prime Minister Tsipras is scheduled to meet the head of Fraport Greece, Stephan Schulte, on Wednesday.

The airport privatisation was agreed within the framework of a massive 86-billion-euro EU bailout in July 2015 to prevent Greece from crashing out of the eurozone.

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As well as the 14 airports, the programme also included the privatisation of ports and other state assets.

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