Klagenfurt: The public sector has received Lilihill's lawsuit against a call option

Klagenfurt Airport (Photo: René Steuer).
Klagenfurt Airport (Photo: René Steuer).

Klagenfurt: The public sector has received Lilihill's lawsuit against a call option

Klagenfurt Airport (Photo: René Steuer).
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It was just a casual remark during a press conference, but it may well be explosive because it could be the start of a year-long legal battle. The former majority owner Lilihill has filed a lawsuit against the public sector against the call option. 

According to KBV board member Martin Payer, they have already been served by the responsible court. The point in time at which the statement of claim was handed over is quite interesting, because it should be delivered on August 3, 2023, i.e. just one day before the press conference in which the cash register crash and thus the the desolate financial situation of Klagenfurt Airport was reported. 

It is therefore not surprising that Payer and the politicians present from the city of Klagenfurt and the state of Carinthia made serious allegations against Lilihill. For example, they indicated that outsourcing the bookkeeping to a Lilihill company would have incurred high costs for the airport. The airport company also transferred a lot of money to agencies for external communication services. From the point of view of the public sector, which is once again the sole owner of the airport, the success of the measures is doubtful. There are also accusations that the airport incurred considerable costs in connection with the Liliair, which never took off. 

The management of the airport is now to examine the extent to which various expenses can be reclaimed from the former majority owner through legal means. In general, Payer, deputy governor Gruber (ÖVP) and Klagenfurt's mayor Scheider (Team Carinthia) don't give Lilihill a good hair at all. The company was publicly accused of mismanagement and it was suggested that the airport was said to have been run down. In any case, the drop in the cash register has shown that there is a gaping hole of 6,6 million euros and that at least 2025 million euros must be invested in the security-relevant infrastructure by 15. 

Counterclaim is pending 

Without it being said explicitly, because it was paraphrased as “examine possibilities”, a multi-million dollar counterclaim against Lilihill seems to be imminent. It can be assumed that the lawsuit brought by the former majority owner against the exercise of the call option alone will result in a year-long legal dispute that will probably go through all the courts. Currently, the fronts between the public sector and Lilihill are so entrenched that there is no sign of a possible out-of-court settlement. 

In any case, Payer, Scheider and Gruber agree that the appeal of the former majority owner is not taken lightly. Everything was handled in a legally clean manner and an attempt was also made to conclude a settlement agreement. However, Lilihill did not even react to the draft.  

Those in charge now also make no secret of the fact that Klagenfurt Airport cannot make the necessary investments on its own. There is not enough money in the bank accounts for this. This also means that taxpayers have to dig deep into their pockets to maintain the airport. Airport boss Maximilian Wildt believes that Klagenfurt has the potential for around 130.000 passengers per year. A lot of work is still needed before this number can be reached. There are currently only a few Ryanair and Austrian Airlines flights on the line and a few charter flights, but these are only offered seasonally. 

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