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Kosovo: EBRD enables a €36 Million loan to Pristina Airport

Prishtinë, May 03, 2006 - The Investment Project Plan at Pristina International Airport (PIA) includes runway resurfacing, lighting, perimeter fencing, and apron extension. These are some of the capital projects the International Airport needs to accomplish to obtain a license from the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). Reportedly the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) may allocate a loan of €15 Million to PIA. Sources told Koha Ditore that by the end of the year EBRD may allocate a loan of up to €36 million to PIA.

PIA General Director, James Johnson, admitted on Monday that the Airport has lost money. The Airport of Pristina has not generated income in 2005. "My goal is to make this Airport an efficient one, to create a system which enables income generation,” said Johnson.

UNMIK Pillar IV Chief, Joachim Ruecker, said that several projects necessary for the certification of ICAO are already being implemented.

"Funding is one problem, but we are in negotiations with the EBRD for allocating a loan, and I think that is a good basis. This airport has a very promising future," said Ruecker, implying that UNMIK Pillar IV is negotiating with EBRD for a commercial loan for the PIA.

Ilir Salihu, Airport Board Director and KTA Deputy Director said the negotiations with the EBRD on the loan have begun since the incorporation of the Airport, last July. "The idea is to combine loans from the EBRD and EIB and the financial means of the Airport itself, and eventual loans from a foreign financial institution to cover all capital projects needed for the certification,” said Salihu. “The EBRD is informed about the Airport’s plans on infrastructure development and has expressed its interest to continue negotiations.”

The guarantee for this commercial loan is the Airport itself. Salihu said that the status solution for Kosovo would not be an obstacle for the loan, since the loan "is not qualified as a sovereign loan, where the state or national institutions should guarantee, but this is a commercial loan, and the company assets are a guarantee for the loan return.”

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