In 2003 the government approved a project to restructure, decentralize and optimize state-owned airports and their administration.
In April 2004 complementary legislation in the form of the Airport Companies Law took effect. The law provides the legal basis for six airports (Bratislava, Kosice, Poprad, Sliac, Piestany and Zilina) to operate as independent joint stock companies with the state as their sole founder. The relevant administrative body is authorized to determine the individual companies. The airports will then operate accordingly.
Under the law, certain parts of the airports are considered to be priority infrastructure properties and as such cannot be the subject of any pledge or security, and cannot be transferred to any third party other than the state or the airport companies themselves.
Other provisions of the law stipulate that:
- the state is the only entity that can establish a Slovak airport company;
- the state's participation in airport companies must be permanent; and
- the transfer of airport infrastructure is allowed free of charge only in the case of small airports (but only to a local municipality and on the basis of mutual agreement).
The new legislation is the first step towards the privatization of domestic airports and enables new players to enter the thriving Slovak air traffic market. According to the Ministry of Transport, Bratislava and Kosice airport companies are already in the process of being incorporated. Following their registration with the competent registration courts, international tenders for strategic investors for both companies will be opened.
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