11th March 2013
People booking cheap flights to Greek Islands such as Rhodes will see some dramatic changes at the airports in the future, following the news that the country will begin tendering for private investors to take over the running of its regional airports at the end of this month.
The announcement, made by the state privatisation fund TAIPED, will affect 37 regional airports, including Rhodes, and is part of a commitment by the Greek government to sell off or privatise key assets in order to reduce its level of debt.
Under Greek Ownership
While the concession of infrastructure means airports, roads and so on will remain under Greek ownership, state-owned corporations and public property assets will be sold in full. This includes areas of cultural or natural importance, like the former royal palace of Tatoi on the mainland, and the beautiful cape of Prasonisi on Rhodes. The island’s historic Afandou beachfront, once the refuge of pirates, is also earmarked for sale, although local residents are trying to block this. They want a year-round sports resort to be built there, rather than the cheaply built hotels they feel foreign investors will want to erect.
As regards Rhodes airport, the lease will be restricted to 50 years, with the successful bidder asked to pay a sum up front for operation rights, plus a percentage of future profits to the state. According to TAIPED, around €240m will be needed to bring it, and the other airports, up to scratch, but the investment will be worth it, kick-starting the Greek economy and giving a boost to tourism.
Cheap flights to Rhodes can be booked through Jet2.com.