Kosovo: Airport concession inevitable

Prishtina, 13 March 2007 – If the airport would be given in concession, a private company would one day manage Pristina International Airport. However, the only owner will be the Kosovo Government. USAID experts have begun to draft a programme on the concession details.

“This is not a sale or privatization of the airport. It is a summary of two kinds of managerial capabilities. The most important thing is that we will see a general restructuring at the airport,” stated USAID official David Bilciffe.

The airport management believe that studies in this regard are necessary for the project to be successful.

“There have been cases when concession in various parts of the world has proven to be successful or a failure. We cannot allow ourselves the luxury of a failure. Hence, we have to be very careful,” stated Pristina International Airport Managing Director Afrim Aziri.

Head of BSPK Haxhi Arifi (Kosovar Independent Union) believes that concession for the airport is a two-edged sword if not analyzed properly.

“I want to assure the people that we are approaching the problem in accordance with international standards and conventions. The sooner they become a part of this process, the better they will understand their role and responsibility. In my experience, there were cases of job changes for the staff, movements in the departments and there were always those who left the company by their own will,” stated Bilcliffe, adding that the private company will be interested in investing and expanding the business through creating new jobs, which will further encourage investment in Kosovo.

USAID experts believe that the study on concession should conclude by the end of the year. Then the Kosovo Government should decide whether the airport management will be given to another company.