Kosovo Airport invites private partners – is it worth the risk?

Of all the airports to come into the privatisation arena in the middle of a recession, Kosovo International Airport (KIA) (a.k.a. Pristina International Airport) near the capital, Pristina, seems to hold out the least value. Torn apart by war at the turn of the decade, it has been a long, slow process to rehabilitate the Western Balkans country and its displaced Muslim and Serbo-Croat populations. KIA has been offered for private sector participation in advance of other airports in Balkans countries where there was de-stabilising conflict in the late 1990s and early 2000s, such as Croatia, Bosnia Herzegovina and Serbia, the notable exceptions being Slovenia where the latest Balkan Wars started in 1991 (localised IPO on Ljubljana Airport in 2003) and Macedonia (TAV concession/investment in three airports, 2009). Although neighbouring Albania, an equally poor country, was not directly affected by the wars and so does not make for a precise comparison, the surprising success of Tirana Airport under the stewardship of Germany’s Hochtief AirPort does hold out some hope for potential investors in KIA.

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