Objectors go to Brussels over Twente airport plans

Plans to breath new live into Twente Airport may be hit after local protestors made a formal complaint about the project to the European Commission, the Financieele Dagblad reports on Wednesday.

The objectors have written to competition commissioner Joaquin Almunia and internal markets commissioner Michel Barnier saying the project was not put out to tender in line with the rules and that more government money is being invested than originally planned.

Twente’s development corporation ADT hopes to sign an agreement with private investment group Reggeborgh and Belgian airport operator Aviapartner to built and manage the airport. The first commercial flights should land at the end of 2014.

Reggeborgh is the investment house of Dik Wessels, a majority shareholder in construction giant Volker Wessels.

Guarantees

The project is budgeted to cost €60m, of which €16m will come from government to pay for the infrastructure. In addition, the state is contributing €4.6m towards the air traffic control system and has earmarked €5m for employment projects.

However the protestors say the cost to the state will be far more, and point out that local and regional government have agreed to guarantee against any losses. They also say the airport will not attract enough passengers to be viable.

If Brussels accepts the complaint, the tender process will have to be carried out again, the FD says.


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