The Principality on the last week sealed its position by becoming a shareholder of 12.5% of Azzurra Aeroporti which owns 64% of airports on the French Riviera.
Minister of State Serge Telle and Atlantia’s president and CEO, Giovanni Castellucci recently signed the official act of the Principality’s entry into the capital of Azzurra Aeroporti, majority shareholder (64%) of Aéroports de la Côte d’Azur (ACA), which operates Nice-Côte d’Azur, Cannes-Mandelieu and Saint-Tropez airports, as well as the international network of ground handling services for business aviation Sky Valet. Initiated in 2015 by Emmanuel Macron, then Minister of Economy, Industry and Technology, the privatisation of Nice airport was registered in November 2016 by the French State. Bercy had ceded the governance of the third airport platform in France for 1.22 billion euros to Azzurra Aeroporti, a Franco-Italian consortium made up of EDF Invest (25%) and the Atlantia group, which had previously been a 75% shareholder and recently sold 12.5% of its shares to the Principality.
The partners of the consortium Azzurra Aeroporti initialled the contracts yesterday at the business centre of Nice airport. The signatories were: Michelangelo Damasco, legal representative of Aeroporti di Roma; Giovanni Castellucci, CEO of Atlantia; Serge Telle, Minister of State of Monaco; Guillaume d’Engremont, CEO of EDF Invest; And Livio Fenati, head of the board of directors of Azzurra Aeroporti.
“The transaction will be finalised by the end of July. Today the principle and the modalities have been acted out and afterwards we will be invested physically,” said the government advisor Minister of Finance and Economy, Jean Castellini, quantifying this entry into the shareholding as “between 130 and 135 million euros.”
A double objective for Monaco
“We are pleased to celebrate this partnership. This is an important moment for the future of the airport,” stated the CEO of Atlantia, Giovanni Castellucci, once the contracts were initialled.
“It is a pleasure for the Principality to enter into the capital of our friends in Atlantia but also of our local partners, since part of ACA continues to belong to the Region (5%) and Métropole (5%), which will sit on the board of directors and which will have an important technical role,” stated the Minister of State Serge Telle.
Telle congratulated all involved and stated the dual objective pursued by the Principality: “To affirm a form of sovereignty in a unique and ambitious partnership, thanks to this important tool for the economic development of Monaco”, on the one hand and “To be as close as possible to this inclusion of Monaco in the department and the region, through economic but also human ties”, on the other hand.
Serge Telle also stated Monaco’s ambition in this adventure: to boost its activities in terms of business: “40,000 people come to work in Monaco each day and I hope that there will be even more one day thanks to the heliport. It is a long-term economic and human partnership.”
The possibility to register in Monaco for London or Dubai
As the Principality is now a shareholder of the Société des Aéroports de la Côte d’Azur, it will be able to work to optimise the service between Nice airport and its heliport.
“A number of measures have already been taken to improve the links between the airport and the heliport, but these measures will be further intensified (…). The fewer burdens, the more time saved, and the more business people will be satisfied with their mobility.”
The goal: to make Monaco a destination in its own right when booking a business flight. “This investment is strategic because tomorrow, if I want to do Monaco-Paris, Monaco-London or Monaco-Dubai, I will register at the heliport of Monaco and in the most fluid way possible, fly to Nice for one of these destinations. In the other direction, too. It is a form of sovereignty for us to say: this flight is a Monaco-London one.” It is currently impossible to quantify the flow of passengers. “This is a task that we will have to consider but which is more the responsibility of the airport and its development plan. But we are part of these plans. We must ensure that there are more and more travellers on the regular Monaco Nice lines from the heliport.” So, traffic jams anticipated on the tarmac of Fontvieille?
“No news” on name change of the airport
The strategy is in any case in the acquisition of the ports of Ventimiglia and Beaulieu. “Everything that is infrastructure today is a way for the Monegasque state to diversify its investments. In Monaco, the State participated in the capital increase of the SBM and in the development of infrastructure such as schools, the new hospital or public housing. But it is important, given the small size of the territory, that the infrastructure, all around us, contributes to our vitality and our economic development. Infrastructure is the future of a state and a region.”
“The commercial activity is getting better and better at the airport where the shops of the terminals have been redone. It is a top-class positioning, with an international clientele, which corresponds very well to Monaco’s clientele,” according to the government advisor, who, on the other hand, did not comment on the issue of the name change of the airport. “This is not at all relevant today. Everything that goes in the direction of better integration is desired by the Principality, but as far as the name of the airport is concerned, this does not concern me as a Minister of Finance.”
Marco Picciniini as an emissary
Predecessor of Jean Castellini as a Minister of Finance and Economy, Marco Piccinini will be the representative of Monaco on the board of directors of the holding company and on the supervisory board of the airport. “He is an Italian by birth who has become a Monegasque, since he has long served the Principality. He has had quite a remarkable career in the sector and also in the automobile world,” announced Jean Castellini. The future plans of Marco Piccinini? “To stay in tune with the Principality’s strategy as a State. What is important for us is the development of the business of aviation, high-end positioning and quality people. Afterwards there will obviously be developments of the airport as such, its management and its profitability.”
Thus as the Principality has become a shareholder in connection with the majority of the airports on the Riviera, it is certain that new and interesting developments are still to come in terms of Monaco’s activities in the air.