Cash register crash: Klagenfurt Airport has a financial deficit worth millions

Arrival and departure symbols in Klagenfurt (Photo: René Steuer).
Arrival and departure symbols in Klagenfurt (Photo: René Steuer).

Cash register crash: Klagenfurt Airport has a financial deficit worth millions

Arrival and departure symbols in Klagenfurt (Photo: René Steuer).
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The financial situation at Klagenfurt Airport is even tighter than previously feared by the public sector. The announced cash drop has shown that the shortfall is 6,6 million euros and is therefore twice as high as previously communicated by Lilihill to the state of Carinthia and the city of Klagenfurt. 

But that's not all, because in order to ensure the continued existence of the Carinthian airport, around 15 million euros will have to be invested in the next few years. The figures mentioned were announced at a joint press conference by Airport Manager Maximilian Wildt, Deputy Governor Martin Gruber (ÖVP), Klagenfurt Mayor Christian Scheider (Team Carinthia) and KBV Board Member Martin Payer. 

The state deputy emphasized that the priority over the next few months will be to save the airport, which has been fully public property again for a few weeks. According to Mayor Scheider, investments worth millions in security-relevant infrastructure would be necessary within the next five years. There is also a need for renovation of the building fabric in the terminal area. Between the lines one could also hear that under Lilihill's majority ownership only the most necessary work was said to have been carried out. 

It is also interesting that during the press conference the airport mentioned high expenses in connection with the Liliair, which never took off. Wildt said that Lilihill is currently investigating whether money can be reclaimed. However, no further details were given. 

In view of the disastrous financial situation, which has already resulted in the airport not being able to pay wages and salaries on time twice this year, which ultimately led to the public sector stepping in and the call option being used, there is a certain degree of uncertainty among the workforce. Airport manager Wildt explains to the district newspapers, among other things, that the salaries of the employees are secured. When asked about a possible job cut, he said that such a step is not planned, but he did not want to rule it out either. 

The image of the airport has suffered massively 

According to Wildt, the events surrounding the pulling of the call option and Liliair, which never took off, had an extremely negative impact on airline interest. There are great uncertainties and doubts. That's why you have to have a lot of conversations and Wildt says that he conducts them personally whenever possible. In the short term, there are no signs that a carrier will quickly be found that will add Klagenfurt to the route network. It is now also a matter of ensuring that the existing connections, which are served by Austrian Airlines and Ryanair, continue to be served in a stable manner. 

You should have a lot to talk about with AUA anyway, because it was only announced a few days ago that the Lufthansa subsidiary would further reduce the hub connection to Vienna. The airline says that this step will be taken due to a lack of demand. However, Carinthian entrepreneurs contradict this. The airport management wants to negotiate intensively with Austrian Airlines in order to be able to persuade them to rethink. 

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