All interested parties, such as Vinci Airports, the French Deposits and Consignments Fund, SNC-Lavalin, ADP (Paris Airports), have until noon on 31st October, as the dead line for submission of applications to acquire certain state shares in the Toulouse Blagnac Airport (ATB) management company (south west France).
The French state, which at present, holds 60% of ATB capital, has initially decided to sell 49.9% of its shares. After Toulouse, eight other airports will follow: Nice, Lyon, Bordeaux, Marseille, Montpellier, Strasbourg, Martinique’s Fort de France in the Caribbean and Réunion’s Saint-Denis in the Indian Ocean.
A shift or rather the continuation of a new direction, begun in 2005, with ADP (Paris Airports), which became a limited company. But what are the motivations behind this state divestment ? Of course, besides the financial aspect of this operation, expected to bring in hundreds of millions of euros, officially, privatization of French airports should allow for modernization of their management and provide better public airport service.
Airport management companies have indeed not only the main tasks of developing, maintaining and optimizing airport facilities, but also to contribute to the development of air links from their platforms. The purchaser of these state shares therefore becomes responsible for the provision of guarantees of safety, the environment, employment and services provided to users.
Concerning Toulouse airport, the French Minister of the Economy is expected to announce the name of the selected candidate during November. Ownership of the shares concerned will be retained by the successful purchaser until 2046.