Local airport constructor, operator to acquire stake in Sabiha Gökçen Airport

DAILY SABAH
ISTANBUL
Published 28.09.2017 19:41

Having operated the Istanbul Atatürk Airport for 17 years, Turkey's global brand in airport operations TAV aims to further establish its presence in Istanbul by acquiring shares in Istanbul's Sabiha Gökçen Airport, amid plans to turn Atatürk Airport into an exhibition area upon the opening of the Istanbul Third Airport. The company has already made plans regarding the conversion of Istanbul Atatürk Airport, a facility that generates half of the company's profits.

Malaysia Airports Holding (MAH), which currently holds a 100-percent stake in Sabiha Gökçen, plans to sell 30 to 49 percent of its shares in the airport, while bids for sales are expected to be collected in November this year.

TAV is ready to submit a bid for shares in Sabiha Gökçen, TAV CEO Sani Şener said at the opening of a new terminal building in Tbilisi, Georgia on Wednesday.

Şener also said TAV will conduct calculations accordingly, indicating that the company will not go above the figure it deems appropriate.

He previously said the company had withdrawn from the tender for the Istanbul Third Airport because the figure reached in the tender was higher than their calculations.

Speaking about the company's goals in the aftermath of the closure of Atatürk Airport, Şener said TAV's priority is to regain passengers the company will lose once the airport is closed.

"Losing the operational rights of Atatürk Airport corresponds to 50 percent of our EBITDA [Earnings-Before-Interest Taxes Depreciation and Amortization], and we have the potential to compensate for this loss. We can do this through four to five airport projects and organic growth. In addition, since 2011, our sub-companies have started to spread to airports that are not operated by TAV, and this will continue," Şener said.

TAV's CEO also emphasized that the company was interested in new airports in many countries, especially in Africa, adding that they want to increase their investments in high-income regions worldwide.

Meanwhile, TAV opened its new terminal building measuring 12,000 square meters at Tbilisi Airport, Georgia's main air hub. The opening ceremony was attended by Georgia's Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikasvili, Turkey's Transport, Maritime Affairs and Communications Minister Ahmet Arslan, the Turkish Ambassador to Tbilisi Zeki Levent Gümrükçü, State Airports Authority (DHMİ) General Manager Funda Ocak, TAV CEO Şener, TAV Georgia General Manager Mete Erkal and many other officials.

"Georgia is the first country we have undertaken operations with abroad, using the knowledge we have acquired as TAV Airports. Our number of passengers at Tbilisi Airport will reach approximately 3 million this year, with the works we have realized, compared to roughly 600,000 in 2007. [THY] increased its number of flights to Tbilisi from three to 33 per week. On the other hand, Pegasus and AtlasGlobal have initiated flights to Georgia. TAV has also grown rapidly in this process, transformed into a firm that offers its products and services in 76 airports in 17 countries worldwide, serving 110 million passengers a year and preferred in the world in terms of airport operations. We have invested nearly $180 million in Georgia so far. We will continue to work to strengthen good neighborly relations and mutual cooperation between Turkey and Georgia," Şener said during his speech at the opening ceremony.

With the completion of the new terminal building, the total area of the airport has increased to 37,000 square meters. The number of passenger boarding bridges rose to five, while the parking capacity increased from 670 to 920. Also, five airplane parking spaces and 18 passport control tables were added. TAV last year carried out a rehabilitation of runway and taxi roads in Tbilisi, and began energy production with solar plants.

The company launched operations at Tbilisi Airport in 2005, undertaking operations at Batumi Airport in 2007. The two airports served 2.4 million passengers in the first eight months of this year, an increase of 45 percent compared to the same period the previous year.

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