PM of breakaway Abkhazia, Beslan Butba signed on November 14 a “letter of intent” with Krasnodar-based company Airport Development on "reconstruction" of the airport outside Sokhumi, Abkhaz news agency Apsnipress reported.
Airport Development is a daughter company of one of Russia’s largest business groups, Basic Element, owned by Oleg Deripaska. Basel Aero, which is a joint venture of Basic Element, Sberbank of Russia and Singapore’s Changi Airport Group, operates airports in Russia’s southern region of Krasnodar, including in Sochi, Anapa, Gelendzhik and Krasnodar.
Details of the preliminary deal with Airport Development, which focuses mainly on running and developing of infrastructure around air terminals, were not reported. According to Apsnipress the Russian company is expected to prepare a final contract within three months.
“It [the airport] remains under the state ownership; reconstruction works and procurement of equipment will be done with investment money, but everything will under the state control,” Apsnipress reported quoting breakaway region’s PM Beslan Butba.
This is not the first time when such preliminary deal was signed between breakaway region’s authorities and a Russian company. Memorandum of understanding on “reconstruction” of the Sokhumi airport was signed with airport operator company Novaport in 2011, but it saw no further development.