Cyprus Mail

State seeks €27 million from Hermes

Tymbou (Ercan) airport

By George Psyllides

The state is claiming €27 million from airports operator Hermes, which the company withheld over the past few years, as compensation for loss of revenue due to the operation of an airport in the Turkish-occupied northern part of the island.

In 2002 when the state issued the conditions of the tender for a strategic investor, it had pledged that it would not create a third airport.

But the opening of the crossing points linking the island’s divided communities in 2003 changed the state of play. The condition was inserted in the agreement, which was signed in 2006.

MPs heard on Tuesday that it is a complicated mechanism and the state is disputing the money Hermes has withheld from the one-third share it pays the state as part of the concession agreement.

Auditor-general Odysseas Michaelides told the House Watchdog Committee that the two sides were currently negotiating with the state trying to recoup part of the €27 million.

Petros Liasis, head of Hermes’ legal department, said his company did not owe the state any money.

Liasis said the discussions focused on finding a compensation mechanism due to losses incurred by the operation of the Tympou, or Ercan airport.

It is understood that the passenger figures for Ercan were provided by the state.

The issue will be discussed in more detail at a later date.

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