The fate of Hahn Airport remains undecided. After strong headwind from politics and media, the Russian bidder, Victor Charitonin, has changed his offer. He scrapped plans to take the
airport over completely and offered creditors to acquire less than 25%. He had only a financial, not a strategic interest in the airport, he assured. Further to this he proposed that 75% of
the stakes should be taken over by local investors.
However, there seems to be very little interest among local investors in cooperating with Charitonin. One of these potential partners could be local businessman Wolfram Richter. But the entrepreneur categorically excluded to invest in the airport and collaborate with the Russian investor. Richter's WR Holding had already deposited the purchase price in an escrow account, similar to Charitonin, but was then placed only second in the insolvency proceedings, because he did not match Charitonin’s offer of 20 million USD. Should the creditors accept Richter’s offer, he emphasized the strengthening of Hahn’s cargo activities and to attract new business to the area.
Unlimited traffic rights
Hahn is one of the rare German airports that has an operating permit for night flights, i.e. for 24/7/365 traffic. This makes the location particularly attractive for cargo companies, because their flight schedules are generally less constant than those of passenger airlines. Evidenced at 120 km distant big Rhine-Main airport that sues airlines considerably, which violate the 24:00-05:00h night flight curfew for whatever reasons.
In the meantime, two other investors from the southwest German region have expressed their interest in acquiring Hahn. Their names have not been revealed by the insolvency administrator. However, since they are local investors, it is unlikely that they are interested in joining forces with Charitonin.
Sputnik V made Charitonin rich
The pharmaceutical producer, who became rich with the Covid 19 vaccine Sputnik 5, is considered a close pal of Russian dictator Putin. However, his name does not stand on any Western sanctions list. Nevertheless, well-known politicians from the German states of Hesse and Rhineland-Palatinate warned against Charitonin: “because of Russia's war against Ukraine, one should not do business with Russian oligarchs at the moment,” Finance Minister Michael Boddenberg (Conservatives) warned. And his partisan colleague Julia Kloeckner of Rhineland-Palatinate said: “whoever raises a pharmaceutical company in Russia and makes a fortune can only do so with Putin's blessing.”
Politics have the last say
According to the responsible insolvency administrator Plathner, the creditors are expected to make a final decision next month on to whom the airport, which has been insolvent since the bankruptcy of its previous owner Hainan Airlines, will be sold. Ultimately, however, the decision depends on the Federal Government. If the Berlin politicians classify Hahn Airport as critical infrastructure, there could be a stricter investment review. Given the large number of U.S. Air Force flights at Hahn, it seems unlikely that a Russian investor will be allowed to acquire a stake in the asset.
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