The agreement on the government grant signed on Monday, April 12, by Jernej Vrtovec, the infrastructure minister, and Zmago Skobir, managing director of Fraport Slovenija, is based on the government’s proposal from December of last year, which envisaged a grant of EUR 5 million to cover the damage suffered by the company as a result of the epidemic. The government’s proposal was subsequently approved by the European Commission. Fraport Slovenija will use the government grant to cover vital operating costs and to maintain liquidity. Last year alone the damage suffered by the airport operator as a result of the epidemic exceeded EUR 15 million. With heavy constraints still applying to air traffic, the damage will also be considerable this year.
When signing the agreement, Mr Skobir said: “In these extremely difficult times, and given the huge impact of the epidemic, this government grant is vital to ensuring the continuing operation of the airport. The aviation industry has been hit harder than most by the epidemic, and in providing this grant the government is not only helping us, it has also shown its understanding of the strategic role of our business.”
The signing of the agreement comes at a time when the airport is in the final phase of the construction of the new passenger terminal. During his visit to the airport today Mr Vrtovec saw the progress on the construction project, and expressed his satisfaction with the upcoming opening. The new terminal will carry its first passengers in July.
Construction was approximately half-complete when the epidemic struck, and has remained on schedule since, despite the restrictions. Although the existing terminal would most likely suffice in terms of space and capacity amid the current low levels of traffic, Fraport Slovenija’s senior management took the decision together with the parent company to press on with construction. The age of the old passenger terminal building makes it difficult to uphold contemporary standards for passenger arrivals and departures. The project is a strategic investment, and is key to the airport’s long-term development. The company also sees the new terminal as a long-term investment, which will help it recover more quickly from the current situation.