Russian airport operator, Novaport, will take over airport outside Sokhumi, breakaway Abkhazia's capital, according to a preliminary deal, detailed terms of which have yet to be specified in planned contract.
Memorandum of understanding "in the sphere of reconstruction and use of airspace of the Republic of Abkhazia for the international air communication" was signed between the breakaway region's PM Sergey Shamba and general director of Novaport, Mikhail Smirnov, in Sokhumi on July 21, Abkhaz news agency, Apsnipress, reported.
Novaport is a daughter company of Russia's privately-owned investment conglomerate, AEON Corporation, which is founded by Roman Trotsenko; the latter is now the president of Russia's state-run United Shipbuilding Corporation.
Novaport runs seven airports in Russia's cities of Novosibirsk, Chelyabinsk, Barnaul, Tomsk, Chita, Volgograd and Astrakhan.
Shamba said after signing of the memorandum, that the Abkhaz authorities would sign a long-term lease agreement with the company on mutually beneficial terms, details of which would be elaborated later.
"We will decide on [details of contract terms] later on as we will be developing investment agreement. Strategically important issue is that runaways are impossible to either sell or lease. As far as infrastructure is concerned that will be negotiated," Shamba said.
"We have studied airport's infrastructure. The runaway, aircraft parking platform are in a satisfactory condition and do not require any major renovation. As far as airport terminal, refueling complexes, airport lighting and air control systems are concerned - all these requires to be done from scratch," Smirnov said.
He also said that it would take 12-14 months to build this infrastructure and it would take 8 years for investments to pay off; amount of required investment was not reported.