Petrovic wants VIA job

A Green trailblazer and animal rights activist has applied for the vacant position of a leading aviation industry company.Former federal Green Party leader Madeleine Petrovic announced today (Fri) she was “ready to take responsibility at Flughafen Wien AG (FW), the listed firm which manages Vienna International Airport (VIA or VIE).FW is currently seeking a new two-member board after previous decision-makers were dismissed or downgraded to lower-tier responsibilities following the dramatic cost overruns in building a new terminal called Skylink.Petrovic, who currently heads the Green Party’s faction in the Lower Austrian government, argued she did not want to be confined to survey and criticise occurrences at FW.The provinces of Vienna and Lower Austria both hold a 20 per cent stake in FW. News that prosecutors are checking corruption and fraud accusations in connection with the creation of Skylink have also upped the pressure on political decision-makers.The bid period for FW’s executive board expires on 30 May. The firm is currently headed by former supervisory board chief Christoph Herbst, a lawyer who has specialised on business cases. He is also understood to be a close ally of Lower Austria’s ÖVP Governor Erwin Pröll.Last month, Herbst was one of the many names mentioned by newspapers speculating over who could succeed Claudia Bandion-Ortner as federal justice minister. New ÖVP chairman Michael Spindelegger eventually nominated former Science Minister Beatrix Karl for the post.The supervisory board of FW explained it looks for businesspeople with experience in the international aviation industry for the vacant executive board top jobs.VIA is Austria’s biggest airport and an important hub to destinations in the Middle East and Eastern Europe (EE). The aerodrome registered more than 1.5 million passengers in March.Skylink was set to open ahead of the European Football Championship in 2008. Construction activities were preliminarily abandoned some months ago when it emerged that the project will cost significantly more than planners initially estimated. The Federal Audit Office (RH) and state prosecutors are investigating.FW officials said recently that Skylink will be put into operation next year, adding that costs will not surpass 800 million Euros. Airport authorities said in 2005 – when the construction went underway – that overall expenditure was expected to range around 450 million Euros.