Vienna International Airport (VIA) officials say they are in "positive" talks with firms on further work at the controversial new Skylink terminal.
VIA chiefs said it was too soon, however, to say when construction would resume, adding there was no indication that Skylink’s cost would exceed the projected sum of 830 million Euros.
VIA said officials said they planned to have the work finished on time in 2011 for less than that amount.
WirtschaftsBlatt newspaper said today Audit Office (RH) President Josef Moser would have his staff begin to audit the airport’s books in the middle of October even though the increase of its competences as approved by the National Council, the lower house of the Federal Parliament, must still be approved by the Federal Council, its upper house, before entering into force.
Since the text of the law in question does not make it retroactive, the newspaper said, airport officials were still hoping such an audit would not be possible.
The pretext for passage of the new law on RH competencies was mushrooming cost overruns at Skylink, which had originally been estimated to cost only 400 million Euros, and VIA's decision to suspend construction work on the terminal.
Some media have speculated the final cost may exceed one billion Euros. The provinces of Vienna and Lower Austria have a combined interest of 40 per cent in VIA.
RH inspectors were turned away at Skylink’s reception desk when they first turned up to examine the company’s books, prompting parliament to consider new legislation.
At that time, opposition Freedom Party (FPÖ) leader Heinz-Christian Strache said he suspected costs had risen because money was being secretly siphoned off to political parties.
Meanwhile VIA continues to suffer from declining passenger numbers which were down during the busy holiday month of August at VIA.
The airport reported last month that the number of passengers in August had fallen by 6.8 per cent year on year to 1,762,294 and the number of those flying to Eastern European destinations had plunged by 11.4 per cent whereas the number of those headed for destinations in the Near and Middle East had risen by 11.9 per cent.
The airport added that four per cent less air freight had passed through it last month compared to August 2008.
The number of passengers from January through August this year had declined by 10.8 per cent year on year to around 12 million, VIA said, adding that it expected a drop of nine per cent for the entire year.
VIA recently reported that operating earnings had plunged by a third to 46.7 million Euros year on year in the first half of the year.
VIA added that turnover had fallen by 10.3 per cent to 244.6 million Euros year on year and the number of its passengers had plunged by 12.7 per cent to 8.43 million year on year in the first six months of the year.
Analysts had expected a decline in turnover of only 4.5 per cent, Austrian Times reports.