The Slovak government seeks for the second time a concession deal for Bratislava Ivanka Airport. It should be finalised by late 2018 and is to “ensure further development of the airport”, which is underused and really acts as a low-cost alternative to Vienna International Airport in Austria, which is less than 100km away.
This is not the first time that an attempt at privatising the operation of the airport has been attempted. In 2006, the Two-One Consortium, comprising Flughafen Wien (Vienna Airport), the Austrian bank Raiffeisen Zentralbank and the Slovak private equity group Penta offered EUR113.3 million for a 66% stake in Bratislava and Košice airports.
But the deal failed to take into account that when it was signed by the previous right wing government there was a clause that the sale had to be approved by the country’s antitrust authority by a certain date, or the contract would be declared invalid. When the consortium failed to secure its approval in time, the new socialist government, which was against the sale of state assets in general and the Bratislava airport in particular, quickly moved to annul the deal, or at least the Bratislava part of it; Košice eventually went ahead and was sold to Flughafen Wien.
So while Slovakia has long-term potential, it is politically volatile and there are clear warnings from the past.