Vienna Airport (Flughafen Wien) has confirmed to TREND today that it is suspending construction of its terminal extension Skylink for six months to renegotiate the costs with builders, architects and other associated parties to ensure
that total expenditure on the project does not exceed the forecast E.830m ($1.1bn) threshold.
Vienna Airport press spokesman Peter Kleemann emphasised that the project will still go ahead next year, but added that the Management Board is determined to reduce the cost to ensure that the much delayed project stays within budget.
This follows an earlier statement from the Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Flughafen Wien AG, Johannes Coreth, who welcomed the suspension and pointed out that if schedules are met, then implementation of 'measures' recommended by the Management Board could lead to substantial savings related to the forecast cost of E.830m ($1.1bn). Some E.400m ($563m) is said to have been invested in the project so far.
Coreth added that it is now his hope that the project will now proceed 'in a calmer atmosphere' with construction scheduled to be complete ahead of the opening in July 2011.
This latest development follows the significant appointment to the Management Board last March of Ernest Gabmann, who took over all the duties of Christian Domany who resigned for 'personal and family reasons'.
A former state of Lower Austria's Lt. Governor and Economic Councillor, Gabmann has effectively been brought in on a trouble-shooting contract with the primary task of putting the new 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 Gabmann's new brief is said to include a thorough review of all aspects and processes related to the Skylink terminal – including retail. This latest suspension of construction and the proposed renegotiation of key contracts would appear to be a central part of Gabmann's plan to get the project back on budget.
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.
A total of 19,747,289 passengers passed through Vienna International Airport during 2008, but this year the airport is projecting a 5% fall in passengers. Only last month the airport reported a 12.8% decline in passengers for the month of May, but to be fair, this is compared with the strong growth recorded in this month and in much of 2008 at the airport.