Skylink may be too small for AUA

A controversial new terminal built at Vienna International Airport (VIA) will not be large enough to handle all Austrian Airlines (AUA) flights, according to a newspaper report.Building activities started in 2005 as it was the plan to put the main parts of the terminal called Skylink into operation ahead of the European Football Championship in 2008. Work was preliminarily halted amid claims in the media that the costs would soar beyond 900 million Euros. Planners initially said the construction would cost no more than 450 million Euros. Work continued recently and VIA bosses promised that expenses would range around 800 million Euros.AUA co-chief Peter Malanik said as early as in February that Skylink would not be large enough for all flights operated by his airline. Project leaders wanted to dedicate the new terminal solely to the carrier before building plans were scaled back when the number of plane passengers decreased across the globe following the terror attacks of 9/11. Around 51 per cent of all departures and arrivals at VIA are AUA connections. The Viennese company – which was taken over by the German Lufthansa Group in 2009 – handles approximately 400 flights at Austria’s busiest aerodrome per day.Viennese newspaper Die Presse has it today (Fri) that the construction plans were not altered to take AUA’s expansion plans into account. The daily quotes an airport employee as saying that it will get “uncomfortable” at Skylink if several large aircraft arrive at the same time. VIA officials told the paper that the new terminal’s dimensions would be “adequate” in their opinion.Prosecutors searched several apartments and offices of former Flughafen Wien AG managers and Skylink construction chiefs to find out who was to blame for the cost overrun and delays.Skylink will be opened next year, according to Flughafen Wien AG. The firm – which is quoted on the Vienna Stock Exchange (WBAG) – manages the airport. The provincial governments of Vienna and Lower Austria, where the airport is located, both hold a 20 per cent stake in the company.VIA recorded 1.565 million passengers last month, up by 4.9 per cent compared to March 2010.