Some time in the late noughties...

Slovenia's second airport is operated by Aerodrom Maribor d.o.o., a firm owned by bankrupted car seat cover company Prevent Global d.d. Bankruptcy proceedings in Slovenia can typically go on for ten years.

1 July 2010

Slovenia's Ministry of Transport put operation of the airport for 30 years up for tender.

 The successful bidder was to be selected on the basis of a points system.

Points were to be awarded for the best made-up future capital gain of the airport, best made-up estimates of future increases in passenger and freight throughput, and best made-up numbers of future employees.

The winner would be the person or company who makes up the biggest estimated increases over the 30-year term.

Whoever won the right to pay for the lease would then have paid rent to the government and the local municipality, who both own portions of the airport land.

You would also pay rent to Aerodrom Maribor d.o.o. for the access and parking areas.

Customer access to the airport and parking was guaranteed for one year.

 After this, the company Aerodrom d.o.o. - presently an asset of the bankrupt Prevent Global d.d. - would have been able to make up any price it fancied for access or parking.

You were to develop the airport infrastructure to provide a capital gain of at least 13%.

You had to increase the number of passengers from a few hundred to at least 3000 in 2012 and at least 10000 by 2030.

You should increase the cargo volume to at least 200 tonnes in 2012 and 1300 tonnes by 2030.

Cargo in the year to 2003 was up from 1000 to 5000 tonnes, according to reports following the bankruptcy of Aerodrom Maribor d.o.o. and its purchase by Prevent following "liquidity problems and unsettled property relations".

The tender offer ended with "Other warnings of the landlord".

At any point during the 30 year agreement the Slovenian government could end your lease.

They could take everything you've built or installed.

They could take over the business and all its assets, achievements and goodwill.

And pay you nothing.

Interested?  Contact jozef.slana (at) at the Ministry of Transport of the Government of Slovenia.

19 September 2010

In the first tender offer there were no bidders.

7 October 2013

Maribor Airport sold to Aviofun for 700,000 euros.

3 November 2014

57% of Maribor Airport sold to the Delavska hranilnica bank for 900,000 euros. DH is owned by several trade unions.

21 March 2015

The former director of Aerodrom Maribor (when it was under Prevent) reveals the whole sticky quagmire in the press.

They were unable to register an airline in Slovenia to operate flights from Maribor, and the national airline Adria was unable to fly there, because government policy states that all flying is done by Adria from Brnik (in Ljubljana, where they are).

They had to register their airline in Austria instead.

Having succeeded in getting a letter of intent from Slovenske Zeležnice for the construction of a short rail link to the terminal, and expressions of interest from logistics companies, nothing actually happened.

He did not want to name names, but indicated there were those who would use any any means to put a brake on development to protect the interests of Brnik, while those in local politics were portrayed as merely damaging to their own interests, due to their extraordinary ignorance.

Price problems due to the fuel monopoly were cited. The ex-Director sees Maribor's future mainly as a cargo hub, with some tourist charters, and increased military use. 

Pronouncing the new owners Delavska hranilnica competent, the airport's ex-Director explained that the locals' shit advertising is the reason a critical mass of passengers cannot be obtained, and g. Ambrož did not see much chance of that changing anytime soon.

1 June 2015

Five months of thrice-weekly evening flights to and from Southend scheduled to begin. 

The occasion is covered by the National Poet.

October 2015

Flights to and from Southend have stopped

16 March 2016

Yet more prematurely aged middle-aged children with degrees sit in trendy offices and seek smart new marketing strategies for Ptuj/Maribor tourism.

It is not in their interests to realise that people will fly almost anywhere if it costs nearly nothing, and that all such destinations have to do is pay Ryanair - and people will just come ...and spend all the money they've all the empty houses, employ all the workless all the empty shops ...come over here with their dancing and their Girls Aloud...

25 February 2017

Delavska hranilnica bank has cashed in Aerodrom Maribor for 10m euros, for an outlay of 3m in late 2014. During their stewardship, passenger numbers fell by more than half last year to 11,000 compared to 2015.

Using Slovenian logic, the owners blamed terrorism and the migrant crisis for the drop. Migrants were not allowed to get on planes there, and probably would not have wanted to fly to Kosovo on the few planes available, as that would have taken them back in the direction they had just come from.

Meawhile, there was no terrorism in Slovenia except for routine packages of white powder turning up at government offices.

Chinese-backed SHS Aviation, the only bidder, will be paying 95,000 euros monthly rent, with their newly acquired subsidiary committed to somehow produce 1.54 million passengers and 82,000 tonnes of cargo transport over the next five years.

SHS moreover committed to invest around EUR 139m during the same period.

In its 1990s heyday the airport reached passenger numbers of 85,000/year, meaning the latest plan represents a 20% increase on that.

It is not known whether the Chinese have secured control of the airport's car park...

MBX news is also covered at NPOSIALPU's page

August 2017

 Passenger flights to Split and Dubrovnik last one month, carrying a total of 213 passengers between Maribor and the belly-button-phobic Croatian resorts.

These include Gillian Yeung, co-owner and Director of SHS Aviation BV, the Netherlands parent company of SHS Aviation, d. o..o., which owns Aerodrom Maribor.

The airport seems generally busier.

Yeung comments in  Delo on differences between Chinese and Slovenian work culture. Slovenians do not seem to do very much, she notes.

There is no point making Maribor a business hub as none of the hotels are any good, she adds. The Chinese are going to build some better ones, we are led to understand.

Yeung is tight-lipped about future developments. SHS is considering renegotiating the 95,000 euro monthly rent.

Local villagers are sent to protest the as-yet unagreed expansion plans.

The Chinese company promising millions of Chinese tourists is ordered to take town the airport's signs, because they are in Chinese, as well as Slovene and English. I think this was the point when SHS realised they'd been had.

July 2019

The government revoked the lease "after the Chinese-backed Aerodrom Maribor announced in January it was invoking a six-month notice and terminating the 15-year lease agreement it signed in 2017 due to delays in a planned expansion of the airport's runway."

Leaseholders put signs saying Private Property, No Trespassing, No Parking at the entrance to the parking area.

The transfer of the lease to DRI, which the government said follows "will help the state avoid the return of almost EUR 6 million in EU funds it received to build a new passenger terminal in Maribor."

The ministry denies "claims that Aerodrom Maribor terminated the lease agreement due to delays in the planned expansion of the airport's runway.

"It added no deadlines or any other conditions for the state had been set in the 2017 agreement.

"The project entails changes to the spatial plan for the area, which is a lengthy procedure and can take several years." Something that either the government failed to mention when offering to lease an airport that couldn't be used, or something the Chinese failed to ask, probably expecting that the government wanted them to develop and use the airport, and stay, or something like that.

Probably if they had asked, there would have been some language problems, or something like that.


26 February 2020

Chinese sue Slovenian state for EUR 2.1m. "It appears the state continues with its contentious conduct – by misleadingly attracting new investors willing to invest in the Maribor Airport in the conviction that the state will fulfil its promises," the company said.

The company however maintains that its plans had been viable, assuming the state would keep its promises.

The ministry had honoured all the terms set down in the contract," [infrastructure minister Alenka] Bratušek added, while saying that a kind of promise that the zoning plan would be changed by March 2018, issued in writing by the then Infrastructure Ministry State Secretary Jure Leben, was not binding on the state.

So foreign investors should be aware that if you feel that you are buying something in Slovenia, leave nothing to chance. Both sides must commit to an exact timetable of events, with penalty clauses for the lessor as well as the lessee.

Otherwise it is just "a kind of promise".

Slovenia is not looking for a buyer like that. It is looking to sell you something and then get you to pay for it while it tells you what you can and (mostly) can't do with it. Also they are quite sensitive about foreigners coming over here, for historical reasons that they simply cannot forget.

So caveat emptor and basically don't bother especially if you are connected in any way with:

Swedish Lutherans (or their allies in the Thirty Years' War i.e. Transylvanians, non-pro-Hapsburg Scots, the Oldenburg Realm, the Duchy of Savoy, Bohemians, Dutch, French Calvinists, Rhineland Palatinate types or the Venetian Republic)
the tribes of King Samo
various barbarians
the Urnfield culture
and obviously no blacks, Arabs, Jews, Indians, Pakistanis or Asians

...otherwise you are simply handing yourself on a plate to Slovenian lawyers, the Slovenian courts and a civil initiative consisting of the village mayor and Simona Marko and a few of their relatives to come and stumble around demanding revenge and saying they don't want foreigners and their freight, and definitely not foreigners involved in the airport their cousins are selling to foreigners...again. Although they will be very friendly until you've given them some money.

9 July 2020

The cycle begins again.

Once again, foreign investors are wooed.

Once again there will be a rail link.

Once again the runway will be extended.

Once again the massive projections.

And another Maribor favourite - an architectural competition.

The airport "could" become part of Luka Koper, Slovenia's sea port at the other end of the country.

The only problem with this plan is that Luka Koper is owned by the government, not foreigners.

 Infrastructure Minister Jernej Vrtovec "expects the first draft changes to the state spatial plan for the airport area in September".

Note that one year previously, when the Chinese had the lease, and getting rid of them was the priorty so the concession could be sold yet again, this spatial plan was going to take "several years".

Nobody who has been to the city of Maribor or its surroundings could ever claim there was anything that could be described as a "plan", spatial or otherwise.

November 2020

The same plans are still in the future.

They have drawn an architect's sketch of a lorry parked outside some kind of warehouse.

Disputes with the Chinese are still under way for a part of real estate, believed to be the car park.