Guiding hand brought in at Vienna Airport

By Administrator |

Finance, construction and all non-aviation generating revenues – including retail – are to be the first priorities of Vienna International Airport's (Flughafen Wien) new incoming Management Board Member, Ernest Gabmann, who has taken over all

duties from Christian Domany, who has resigned for personal and family reasons.

Formerly the state of Lower Austria's Lt. Governor and Economic Councillor, Ernest Gabmann was appointed to his new position with effect from March 1, 2009 until September 30, 2009 on a short-term contract at Vienna Airport as 'a trouble shooter', with the primary task of putting the new $824m VIE-Skylink Terminal extension project firmly back on track, following serious delays and cost overruns.

The Skylink Terminal was initially scheduled to open in early 2009 and currently the cost of the project has risen to E.657m ($826m), but Vienna Airport says it is now looking at a phased opening in stages, beginning in October of this year.

Gabmann's new brief is said to include a thorough review of all aspects and processes related to the Skylink terminal – including retail.

Besides his position as the previous Lt. Governor of the state where Vienna Airport is situated, Gabmann was also the Economics Minister for Tourism under the powerful and popular Governor, Erwin Proell of Austria. For over a decade he was responsible for the rapid growth which led to prosperity, lower unemployment and a higher standard of living in Austria.

Gabmann has a reputation for being both decisive and positive and he is expected to make changes. He arrives at a time where Vienna International Airport has seen an increase of 5.2% in passenger numbers in 2008 and clearly exceeded the European average (of -0.1% from January to November according to ACI).

But this good result fell slightly short of the 6% forecast by Flughafen Wien. A total of 19,747,289 passengers were handled at Vienna International Airport during 2008, but this year the airport is projecting a 5% fall in the number of passengers.

Contracts for the duty free and travel retail business at the Skylink Terminal were awarded to Gebr Heinemann back in May of last year, while SSP, HMSHost and various other companies also won several F&B concept contracts. A 'Best of Austria' concept was also awarded to Artifacts/Sardana and many new big name fashion boutiques have also been awarded space, as have various bars and service concepts.


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