The European Commission has authorized on Wednesday a 20-year extension of the concession of the Athens International Airport ‘Eleftherios Venizelos’ to the company Athens International Airport (AIA) in exchange for a fee of 1,100 million euros, concluding that the operation it will be carried out under market conditions and does not involve irregular public support.
Brussels considers that the canon that AIA will pay for the extension (from 2026 to 2046) “corresponds to the market price”, which implies that the society will not benefit from any aid in the form of “abnormally reduced” rates, he explained in an communicated the Commissioner of Competition, Margrethe Vestager.
The EU executive and the Greek authorities have actively collaborated to achieve a “positive result” in this operation, which is “one of the most important in the Greek privatization program,” according to the commissioner.
Initially, the Commission noted that a fee of 484 million euros had been set, implying financial and commercial parameters that did not respond to market conditions, since “no private operator would have accepted such an offer”, and been considered as State aid.
The approval of Brussels and its conclusion that the operation does not imply an irregular subsidy is a necessary precondition for the extension agreement to enter into force.