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European issue 02 | MARCH 2012 | www.european-outlook.coM

Super GRUPA Emil Tedeschi founded Atlantic Grupa in 1991. It is today the leading European producer of sports food

also this issue

Liege Airport

ZURICH

Kaunas Airport

INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT

The Snow Arena


Editorial

Editor – Ian Armitage Writers – Colin Chinery Jane McCallion Laura Chubb Tom Sturrock

Business

Advertising Sales Manager – Sean Brett Sales – Thomas Aras Research manager – Jon Jaffrey Researchers – Eleanor Watson Sandra Parr Marcus Graham Marie Smith Sales administrators – Katherine Ellis Daniel George

Accounts

Financial controller – Suzanne Welsh

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Magazine design – Optic Juice Production manager–Jon Cooke Images: Getty News: AAP, SAPA

digital & IT

Head of digital marketing & development – Syed Ahmad

TNT Publishing

CEO - Kevin Ellis Chairman - Ken Hurst Publisher TNT Multimedia Limited TNT Multimedia Limited, Unit 209, 16 Brune Street, London E1 7NJ tntmagazine.com

Welcome Are the rain clouds lifting?

March’s headlines made interesting reading. We had the now obligatory job losses (retailer Game axed more than 2,000 people in a day) but we’ve also had what seems to have been a series of more encouraging headlines. The one that got the most hits on our website brought news that Greece had managed to convince a high proportion of its private creditors to accept steep losses on their bonds, pushing through what was the largest restructuring of government debt in history, and paving the way for its latest tranche of bailouts. March was also a fantastic month for Britain’s auto industry, with Jaguar Land Rover announcing a new Chinese JV and plans to expand production and crate jobs. The success stories are out there and we bring several to you this month, the most impressive of which is our cover story. Atlantic Grupa has been described as “the standard-bearer for economic reintegration in the fragmented lands of the former Yugoslavia” and its growth story is impressive. The group started distributing Wrigley’s chewing gum while the war for independence still raged in 1991 and it is now the leading European producer of sports food with the well-known Multipower brand. You can read more about that on page 16. We have lots more inside, including a look at Europe’s aviation industry, whether or not anybody can challenge Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel, the murky world of conspiracy theories, and we also bring you a traveller’s guide to the Algarve. Enjoy the magazine

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Ian Armitage Editor


CONTENTS

Features 04 06

N e w s

10

M O T O R S P O R T Can anyone beat Vettel? The new F1 season is underway. Can anyone stop Sebastian Vettel?

14 16

T R A V E L Action in the Algarve This Portuguese hotspot may attract sunseekers, but if you’re full of energy, there’s plenty here to leave you breathless O P I N I O N Where’s Osama buried? The al-Qaeda leader’s death is fresh grist for the fevered conspiracy theory mill.

16

A tlanti c g r u pa Super Grupa Atlantic Grupa founder Emil Tedeschi talks to Ian Armitage

30 34 38 44 56

06

s no w ar e na SNOW joke… you can ski in summer! The Snow Arena is a huge new indoor winter sports centre

30

a c i e u rop e Europe’s Airport supremo warns, “We cannot fly on clipped wings” K a u na s A irport Low-cost boom? Lithuanian airports continue to expand li e g e airport Taking to the skies! Financial turmoil sweeping the eurozone couldn’t restrain Liege Airport’s 2011 cargo volumes z u ri c h int e rnational airport Swiss made, world acclaimed Zurich is one of the world’s top airports, famed for its efficiency

44 56 3


News B u s in e s s

GSK invests £500m in UK and builds new factory GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), Britain’s biggest drugmaker, has confirmed plans to invest more than £500 million in manufacturing in the UK and it selected a north of England location for a previously announced biotech plant. The investments could create up to 1,000 new jobs, GSK said. The biopharmaceutical facility in Ulverston will be its first new UK factory for 40 years. It will cost £350 million, with construction expected to start in 2014 or 2015. The firm had looked at four possible sites in England and Scotland. GSK said it was “one of the largest commitments to the UK life-sciences sector in recent years”. But it will not be up and running until at least 2020. GSK will also invest more than £100 million in its two manufacturing sites in Scotland and the company is considering further investment at Ulverston which could double the total spend there to some £700 million. Any further investment will depend on “continued improvements in the environment for innovation”, GSK said - a clear sign it intends to continue to put pressure on the government to make Britain a favourable place to do business.

JLR and Chery announce China JV Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) and Chery Automobile have agreed a joint venture (JV) that should pave the way for production of Jaguar and Land Rover cars in China. A new, jointly owned company, will be formed, with a view to establishing a research and development facility, the pair said in a joint statement. As well as manufacturing Jaguar and Land Rover models, the new company will also aim to develop and manufacture new models, as well as set up engine manufacturing operations and create a sales network in China. Further details of the agreement were not disclosed. 4

E u ro z on e c ri s i s

Greece ratifies multibillion bailout The Greek parliament has formally ratified a second eurozone bailout scheme worth up to 130 billion euros to save it from defaulting on its national debts. The text was approved by 213 socialist and conservative parliamentary deputies and opposed by just 79 members from the communist left and far right. The result was in little doubt given the large majority, which the transitional government of caretaker Prime Minister Lucas Papademos can command. The ratification came after Greece received a first payout of 7.5 billion euros under its second international bailout. Greece received 5.9 billion euros from the eurozone and 1.6 billion euros from the International Monetary Fund. The eurozone approved the new rescue programme following a debt swap with private creditors earlier this month that wiped some 100 billion euros off Greece’s debt.

Jaguar Land Rover to create 1,000 new jobs at UK plant Car manufacturer Jaguar Land Rover has confirmed it is adding 1,000 new jobs to its Halewood factory. The company said the new jobs would support “significant demand” for some models and will take the site’s workforce to 4,500. The carmaker said it needed more workers in order to meet strong demand for its Range Rover Evoque and its Freelander 2. “We are moving Halewood to three shifts and 24-hour operation to meet increased global demand,” said JLR’s human resources director, Des Thurlby.


trav e l

Airlines group warns over rising oil price

R e tail

Tesco UK chief quits following January’s profit warning The boss of Tesco’s UK operation, Richard Brasher, is stepping down. The supermarket chain’s group chief executive, Philip Clarke, will take on responsibility for the UK business. Clarke declared, “You can’t have two captains” as he took direct control of the supermarket group’s UK operations. In a statement, he added: “I have decided to assume responsibility as the CEO of our UK business at this very important time. “I completely understand why Richard has decided to leave and want to thank him for the great contribution he has made over many years.”

The global aviation industry could run up losses of more than US$5 billion this year if oil prices spike as anticipated in light of building tensions over Iran’s nuclear programme, the industry’s trade group says. The International Air Transport Association, or IATA, says it now expects earnings will likely decline to US$3 billion in 2012. Tony Tyler, IATA’s chief executive, said that the industry’s diminished profit forecast for 2012 could turn to losses of more than US$5 billion if oil prices spike to US$150 a barrel due to Western tensions with Iran. “I must emphasise that the industry is fragile,” he said, pointing to global growth forecasts of two percent for this year. “Historically, if GDP falls below two percent, the industry returns a collective loss. So it would not take much of a shock to turn our very modest profit projection to a net loss.”

B u s in e s s

Goldman Sachs employee causes global storm A Goldman Sachs employee has mounted an unprecedented and astonishing public attack on its “toxic and destructive” culture in a New York Times opinion piece, which doubled up as a resignation letter, becoming the first serving insider to openly criticise the firm. Greg Smith, an executive director at the bank, accused it of losing its “moral fibre”, putting profits ahead of customers’ interests and dismissing customers as “muppets”. “It makes me ill how callously people talk about

ripping their clients off,” he wrote. The decay of Goldman’s proud culture of teamwork, integrity and humility, he said, threatened the bank’s survival. Goldman Sachs is arguably the most storied investment bank on Wall Street and has previously been compared to a moneysucking vampire squid and called the evil empire of finance. Goldman CEO Lloyd Blankfein and president Gary Cohn told the bank’s employees in an open letter that Smith’s claims did not reflect the culture

of the bank. They cited glowing internal reviews of the service Goldman provides to clients. “It is unfortunate that all of you who worked so hard through a difficult environment over the last few years now have to respond to this,” they wrote. The New York Times said the essay had received three million page views online in just a few hours. The second-most-viewed story had 500,000, and that was a business section story about Smith’s outburst. 5


MOTORSPORT

Can anyone beat

Vettel? The new F1 season is underway. But can anyone stop Sebastian Vettel from taking the title once again? By Tom Sturrock

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t will be a long time before a driver produces a Formula One season as dominant as Sebastian Vettel’s in 2011. The championship race had barely turned its first corner when the German was already streets ahead, winning five of the first six races, often in a manner that suggested the other drivers simply didn’t have the hardware to compete. Button may have won this seasons opening GP in Melbourne, but Vettel finished second and the main question to be answered this year is whether any of the teams, any of the drivers, can prevent him claiming a third straight drivers’ championship.

Red Bull’s advantage may narrow In 2011, Vettel had the advantage of driving a car vastly superior to his rivals’. Surely, the other teams will have closed the gap on Red Bull this year – if not entirely, then at least far enough to make Vettel sweat a little more. That said, Red Bull boss Christian Horner is adamant Vettel can, given his youth, improve further. “You forget how young he is, he’s still 24 years of age,’’ Horner says of his main man. “We’ve yet to see his best. He’s still emerging and blossoming as a driver, as a talent, and I think there is some strong years to come from him. “Sebastian’s quite a humble guy and he almost can’t believe the illustrious company that he sits with, with the achievements he’s got in the sport.”

Webber second cab off the rank

“In terms of racing among ourselves, we know how it works within the team”

Red Bull might be fond of their prodigy but it must chaff Mark Webber to play second fiddle. The Australian had an outstanding season in 2010, leading the championship at one point before his team’s preference for his younger teammate took its toll. Then, last year, Vettel left the chasing pack, including Webber, in the dust. At 35, Webber might not have many years left at the top level, but seems happy to support Vettel. “It still might not be enough to win the race, as McLaren might be 30 seconds down the road,” Webber says. “But in terms of racing among ourselves, we know how it works within the team. If that’s good enough to be ahead of everyone else, then happy days.’’

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MOTORSPORT

Frustrating times for Alonso

Fernando Alonso – who, in 2005 and 2006, was the last man to win back-toback world championships – may still be the best driver in the world poundfor-pound, but early indications from Ferrari suggest the Spaniard could be in for a difficult year. Ferrari’s technical chief Pat Fry has attempted to water down expectations by suggesting the team will not challenge for the podium. Alonso is more optimistic.

Make or break for McLaren When Jenson Button, then the world champion, joined McLaren for the 2010, it looked like the manufacturer had assembled a British dream team, pairing Button with 2008 champion Lewis Hamilton. They’ve spent much of the interim chasing the Red Bulls, though – an experience which left Hamilton frustrated, while Button made a better fist of it, suggesting that, if the necessary improvements are made to the car, he could be the man to overhaul Vettel. “Last year I felt I did the best with the car I had, that I really grew with the team, felt a big part of McLaren, not just a driver, but a big part of the team,” Button says. “So there are no excuses this year. I feel we have everything. “There’s nothing to fall back and say, ’This is the reason why we didn’t win in 2012’.”

“There’s lots of talk and many ideas, but nobody knows the truth. What counts is not to be first in the first race but in November, at the end of the championship”

Kimi back in the saddle The two Brits aren’t the only one-time world champions with Vettel in their crosshairs – Kimi Raikkonnen, the Finnish driver who broke through in 2007, before slipping off the pace and walking away from the sport at the end of 2009, is back in the game, having signed to drive for Lotus. At his peak, Raikkonnen was renowned for his steely temperament and powers of concentration and, although only time will tell whether his car is powerful enough for him to challenge, he has been flying in testing. “The fastest time at the end of the day looks good but no one will know how fast any of the cars are until we get to qualifying at Albert Park,” Raikkonen said. “All the changes we have made over testing have been improving the car, so we’ll have to see what happens in Melbourne. I’m positive.” 8

“The new single-seater has some characteristics which are difficult to understand and maybe we’re not where we want to be yet,” Alonso says of the new car. “But we’ve all lived through many Formula One seasons and we know very well that until we’re in Australia, we don’t really know where we stand against the others. “There’s lots of talk and many ideas, but nobody knows the truth. What counts is not to be first in the first race but in November, at the end of the championship.”


Schumacher still chasing glory Seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher retired for three seasons before deciding to get back behind the wheel and, at 43, he believes he’s got a few more laps in him. He hasn’t won a race since his final pre-retirement season in 2006 but the German, although circumspect, believes his Mercedes may now be capable of challenging the favourites. “The car is reliable which is already good,” Schumacher says. “The first impression was already quite positive. We were driving out of the box with the car and everything went well, so there is potential. “Victory to me is unlikely, I see Red Bull in front. Behind them it will be tight, and you can be either hero or zero very quickly. It will come down a lot to the ability of how well you will be setting up your car to the respective track.”

Play nice, lads Massa-hamilton feud Tempers boiled over more than a few times last season, Lewis Hamilton and Felipe Massa clashing several times on track and fractiousness sometimes spilling over into post-race press conferences. They have a history dating back to Hamilton’s championship-winning season, when he snatched the title from under Massa’s nose, in front of his home crowd in Sao Paolo. There was also an incident in which Massa spat champagne at Hamilton. But last year, it escalated, the pair colliding an extraordinary six times in a single season, both men falling over themselves to blame the other, fomenting the existing bad blood between them. At the end of the season, the pair appeared to bury the hatchet but the true test of their rapprochement will come under the pressure of race conditions. Will another prang spark an all-out slanging match?

9


travel

Action in the

Algarve This Portuguese hotspot may attract sunseekers, but if you’re full of energy, there’s plenty here to leave you breathless. By Laura Chubb

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ever say ‘Albufeira’ to an Algarve local. Every native of Portugal’s southernmost region to who I’ve blurted the name of the area’s most touristed city has responded with a grimace, or an unimpressed lip curl at best. They seem genuinely mystified by the millions of tourists that flock to the Algarve just to crash out on the sand, and even more so at the numbers choosing to set up in the whitewashed apartments of Albufeira, jammed together in much the same suffocating proximity as the pink bodies jostling on the city’s beaches. “There is so much more to do here,” is what I hear from the driver who picks me up at the airport, the surfer


February,” she says. “I was so excited, I forwarded it to all my friends.” Perhaps the best part of surfing in Sagres is that swells are most impressive throughout the off-peak tourist season. Strong winds during summer make better conditions for kite surfing, while winter swells at the west coast’s hollow beach breaks draw serious barrel-hunters and few other punters. It’s an epic destination for you and your board – miles of deserted golden sand hemmed on one side by jagged, looming cliffs, and the Atlantic Ocean’s endless royal blue on the other.

“Perhaps the best part of surfing in Sagres is that swells are most impressive throughout the offpeak tourist season”

chick who shows me how to catch a wave, the guides who take me hiking in the Algarve’s mountains – to name but a few. Over a handful of days in the region, I’m struck again and again by this bewilderment at out-oftowners’ failure to discover more than sunbathing. The first local to show me a more active time in the Algarve is Martha. With her bleached-blonde locks, battered van and Billabong sweatshirt, it’s not hard to guess her line of work. During our short drive towards Cordama beach in Sagres, on the Vicentina coast, she chatters animatedly about a recent feature on surfline.com. “It named Portugal the best place to surf in the whole world in

There’s also a range of beaches suited to beginners – which is good news for me. Wetsuited up and falling clumsily from my foamie in no time, I can see why this is the perfect place to take your first tentative wipeouts. “We get lots of Aussies coming to us to learn,” Martha tells me. “Maybe they were embarrassed about being a beginner back home.” In Sagres in winter, there are no crowds to witness your shaky start. One word of warning – growing renown here has led to plenty of shonky surf operators setting up with nothing in the way of certification or insurance. Martha coowns the surf centre at Memmo Baleeira hotel in Sagres, which belongs to the Algarve Surf Association. She recommends you only get involved with ASA-approved outfits. Aside from surfing, there’s a wealth of ways to be adventurous with a sea view. The Ecovia biking trail traces the Algarve’s 11


travel

coast from end-to-end, covering 214km from Cape St Vincent in the west to Via Real de Santo Antonio in the east. As I pedal the 27km from small town Tavira to Via Real, I find myself entertaining wild fantasies of some day riding the whole route. There’s an overwhelming sense of satisfaction that comes with being perched on my saddle, passing peaceful orange groves and the companionable big blue, while, overhead, the sky remains unsullied by clouds. I breathe it all in and smile at the idea that there’s never a beach far away if I fancy a rest. Another day, I take a kayak out into the Ria Formosa. This protected natural park comprises a landscape of coastal lagoons, impossibly blue beneath the ceaseless Algarve sun. Out here, I get a sense of how the region must have been before package holidays 12

bundled into town. Weather-beaten old guys pick oysters from traps as seabirds circle in the still air, and I spot a grizzled fisherman asleep at the wheel of his boat as it motors past. After about an hour’s paddling, I arrive at an empty beach that stretches further into the distance than I can see. The region’s former life as an assemblage of sleepy fishing villages is most keenly felt around the Ria Formosa, where there’s a palpable pride in that past. See, for example, the ‘anchor graveyard’ on Ilha de Tavira, arranged in honour of the tuna fishing fleet that was based here. Curious to find more of an Algarve untouched by time, I head inland to explore the Via Algarviana. The 301km hiking route undulates along the region’s verdant hills and valleys, passing through various rural villages. I take on a 20km section of the trail, where my guides, Ana and Cristina, stop to chat with the elderly folk who congregate in the shade of village trees. “They don’t see many people, so when we pass through they always like to talk,” explains Ana. “When


Where to eat... Right outside the car park of Memmo Baleeira in Sagres, there’s a strip of small restaurants dishing up great budget dinners. Take a peek at the menus and see what tickles your fancy. There are burgers and cataplanas – the famous Portuguese seafood stew. The colourful A Eira do Mel may be Michelin-listed, but it’s a relaxed, friendly eatery in which to enjoy a sublime lamb stew or octopus cataplana after a day surfing Sagres’ waves. (eiradomel.com) If you’re looking for something really special, try Henrique Leis in Vale Formoso, Almancil. Expect the likes of duck foie gras with quail breast and truffle. (henriqueleis.com)

Where to drink... Warung in Sagres has cosy couches and cushions, DJs and live music, plus surfer-buddies-in-waiting aplenty. (warung.eu) Converted from an old farmhouse, Piano Bar Dom Paio is a sophisticated spot in the Pedras d’el Rei resort. The bar serves up surprisingly smooth local firewater and there’s live jazz in summer. Set in Santa Luzia, the restaurant also cooks up a great octopus with sweet potato. (pedrasdelrei.com) they die, it will all be ruins,” adds Cristina, looking about her at the small collection of houses and crumbling stone walls. That’s the fate of country life in so many corners of the world nowadays – the young move to the cities, and the village dies with the generation that stays. I look from the local hand-weaving a basket in the shade of his front doorway to the wild green mountains beyond. The Algarve receives seven million foreign tourists a year; how cool that even in the most well-trodden places, there’s still so much to discover. Laura went hiking and biking with Megasport, which offers various active holiday packages and equipment hire megasport.pt; surfing with Memmo Baleeira memmobaleeira.com; and kayaking with Hotel Vila Gale Albacora in Tavira vilagale.pt More on the Algarve at visitalgarve.pt More on the hiking route at viaalgarviana.org

The Algarve has relaxed beach bars and surfer hangouts peddling cheap beer in spades. But if you’re looking to splash the cash, try Taberna de Lagos. (tabernalagos.pt)

Where to sleep... About 10km from Sagres, Goodfeeling hostel is surrounded by gorgeous rolling hills and great beaches. (hostelworld.com) For a rustic stay, check out Casa do Lavrador in the tiny hillside village of Furnazinhas. The twostorey rooms are huge and homely, complete with country-chic log fire and stone walls. (casadolavrador@sapo.pt) The Memmo Baleeira is an impressive all-white masterclass in modern design, with arresting sea views of Sagres and an in-house surf school. (memmobaleeira.com)

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OPINION

Where’s

Osama buried? The al-Qaeda leader’s death is fresh grist for the fevered conspiracy theory mill.

O

ften, even the least credible conspiracy theories prove to be the most durable, the most impervious to inconvenient facts. And, last week, a major domino in a new conspiracy theory – a new ‘big lie’ – appeared to fall, when Wikileaks reproduced emails from a shadowy security firm questioning whether Osama bin Laden’s body was actually buried at sea. According to Fred Burton, the vice president of intelligence service Strafor, whose emails were obtained by Anonymous, Bin Laden’s body was taken back to the US and cremated. Even if this new account is completely untrue, the back-catalogue of conspiracy theories reveals that, among the tin-foil hat brigade, a little bit of evidence – or even none at all – goes a long way. 14

By Tom Sturrock

Dead presidents for a dead president In November 1963, President John F Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas. The Warren Commission, set up to investigate Kennedy’s shooting, concluded Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone and Jack Ruby in turn acted alone when he assassinated Oswald. Nearly 50 years on, though, an overwhelming majority of Americans believe there was a cover-up. What the believers say: The CIA joined forces with the military industrial complex to get rid of Kennedy because of his willingness to negotiate with the Soviet Union and his plans to restructure the nation’s intelligence services.

The Truthers begin their catcall While the wreckage of the Twin Towers was still smouldering, the first alternative theories about the attack were being seeded. Not dissuaded by the fact al-Qaeda has repeatedly claimed responsibility, the 9/11 Truth movement sprung up online, incubating the idea that elements within the US government either knew in advance about the attack or orchestrated it to justify subsequent wars in the Middle East. What the believers say: It was an inside job, maybe involving Mossad, as no Jews were killed. The Pentagon was hit by a missile instead of a plane and the Twin Towers were brought down by a controlled, pre-planned demolition.


of the ocean, with several sailors bonded into its superstructure. What the believers say: The Philadelphia Experiment might have backfired but it was merely the first step in a series of covert operations which, by the 1970s, had opened a whole Pandora’s box of experiments in interdimensional ‘shifting’.

‘She’s not having a kid to that … that Islamic!’ In 1999, Princess Diana and her boyfriend, Dodi Fayed, died after a high-speed crash in Paris. Some suspect rogue elements within MI6, who felt Diana’s relationship with Dodi, an Egyptian Muslim, was a threat to the British state. At an inquest in 2007, a letter by Diana to her butler was presented, claiming “my husband is planning ‘an accident’ in my car, (involving) brake failure and serious head injury”. What the believers say: Dodi’s father, Mohamed alFayed – Fulham FC‘s owner – last year bankrolled the film Unlawful Killing, which claims Prince Philip orchestrated the deaths.

If you believe they put a man on the moon … Two years after the Apollo manned lunar missions of the Sixties were completed, the first hoax theories surfaced, featuring the spectacular claim that Nasa had faked the whole thing to shore up funding and avoid losing the space race with the Soviets. Some suspect the film of Neil Armstrong stepping on to the moon was fact in fact sponsored by Disney and produced by Stanley Kubrick, following a script written by scifi author Arthur C Clarke. What the believers say: Photographs from the lunar surface

show camera crosshairs partially behind rocks, a flag planted by Buzz Aldrin moves in a strange way, there are no stars visible and the shadows fall in different directions.

The lizard people bide their time The Illuminati was founded in the 18th century as a secret society of thinkers and many believe they have survived, intervening in the Battle of Waterloo, the French revolution and JFK’s assassination. Their current objective, apparently, is a vast conspiracy, planned for generations, to establish a New World Order – a oneworld government with one unit of money, comprising a handful of inter-related global elites. What the believers say: British writer David Icke is one of foremost experts on this superconspiracy, taking it one step further, claiming those behind the New World order are in fact shape-shifting reptiles who live in subterranean tunnels.

ET arrives early Nothing to see here During the Second World War, the US navy was trying to use Einstein’s Unified Field Theory to bend light around battleships, effectively making them invisible. Conspiracy theorists believe that during the experiment, a destroyer called the Eldridge, through some kind of complication with cosmic forces – it’s not entirely clear – was sent hurtling through space and time, reappearing in the middle

It’s true that something crashed at Roswell, New Mexico, in 1947, but although the US military maintains it was a weather balloon, it has become an article of faith for UFO anoraks that an alien craft was recovered. After conducting thousands of interviews and accessing classified documents through Freedom of Information, researchers Kevin Randle and Donald Schmitt published two books, which remain influential, insisting alien crafts crashed at Roswell. What the believers say: Walter Haut, the military public affairs officer who drafted the initial press release in 1947, claimed in a 2002 affidavit that he saw alien corpses and a craft and that he had been involved in a cover-up.

15


Atlantic Grupa

Super GRUPA Atlantic Grupa founder Emil Tedeschi and director of corporate communications Gabrijela Kasapović speak to European Outlook. By Ian Armitage

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n a 2010 article the Financial Times described Croatian consumer goods giant Atlantic Grupa as “the standard-bearer for economic reintegration in the fragmented lands of the former Yugoslavia.” The claim followed its takeover of Droga Kolinska, a Slovenian group that came with blue-chip brands in Serbia. Today, Atlantic Grupa’s position as “standard-bearer” is something the business community wholly agrees with. “Our story is an interesting one,” director of corporate communications Gabrijela Kasapović tells European Outlook. Indeed it is. Emil Tedeschi, president and CEO, founded Atlantic Grupa, which started distributing Wrigley’s chewing gum while the war for independence still raged, in 1991.

“Atlantic started off in 1991 with the distribution of Wrigley chewing gums, as a small company of seven employees” It is now the leading European producer of sports food with the well-known Multipower brand. Products include Multipower bars, shakes and supplements and Cedevita “almost-readyto-drink” sports beverages. It has spent much time since the Droga Kolinska acquisition integrating the new business into its portfolio, becoming a giant. “In 2012 Atlantic Grupa introduced a new organisational structure in order to manage all of its business units and distribution markets as efficiently as possible, which means abandoning the former division-based organisation model, and introducing the organisational segmentation into six Strategic business units - Coffee, Sports and Functional Food, Pharma 17


Atlantic Grupa

and Personal Care, Savoury Spreads, Snacks, Beverages - along with four Strategic distribution units - Croatia, Slovenia-Serbia-Macedonia, HoReCa, International markets - and the Market unit Russian as a separate entity,” Kasapović says. “The tasks within the new organisation are linked according to the affiliated product type or sales area.” The biggest individual product category of Atlantic Grupa, with a 21 percent share, is Coffee and brands include Grand kafa and Barcaffe, she says. “The beverages category, with key brands like Cedevita, Cockta, Donat Mg, and the Sports and Functional Food category, with brands such as Multipower and Champ, have shares of 14 percent respectively. The category Sweet and Salty Snacks boasts a 12 percent share in total sales, Pharma and Personal

18

“We are working on three platforms – local/national, regional and international. Some of our brands are very strong in local terms”


Care has 10 percent, and Savoury Spreads a nine percent share. Distribution of principal brands accounts for 17 percent of total sales.” Atlantic Grupa went public in 2007 with the region’s largest initial public offering for a purely private-sector company, as opposed to a privatisation sale. Around 26,000 individuals and 150 institutions, including Croatia’s main pension funds, bought shares. The company has delivered growth for six years straight. “Atlantic started off in 1991 with the distribution of Wrigley chewing gums, as a small company of seven employees,” says Kasapović. “Emil Tedeschi was at the time 24, and by then had gathered respectable managerial experience. He started his working career in the UK and Italy where he served as Director of the Milan Branch of Meteor Holding Ltd, one of the biggest European paper trading companies at the time. He returned to Croatia in 1991 to open and manage the company’s Croatian subsidiary but he soon found Meteor Holding shutdown by its creditors, and himself out of a job, in a country just starting a military defence against aggression. With his colleagues he founded Atlantic Trade and accepted the offer to distribute Wrigley assortment in the Croatian market. To many people at the time, distributing gums in a country at a war, where flour, oil, and other basic commodities were lucrative, sounded ludicrous. Little did they know that this would kick off an extensive distribution business and this company would, in 20 years, be one of the leading players not only in the FMCG distribution but also in the food industry in the whole region.” Over the years Atlantic has made a number of clever and strategic acquisitions, chief among them the purchases of Cedevita (2001), Neva (2004), Haleko (2005), Multivita (2007), Dietpharm (2007) and finally Droga Kolinska (2010). “We acquired Slovenian-Serbian food giant Droga Kolinska in a bid to strengthen our position in SE Europe,” says Kasapović. “Droga Kolinska was the perfect match for Atlantic Grupa. Atlantic was selected as the best bidder, not only price-wise, but equally 19


Atlantic Grupa

important, strategically. The deal was closed on the 1 July 2010 and is the largest acquisition the region has seen so far.” The match was “perfect for both companies” she says. Droga Kolinska, which came with two strong coffee brands (Barcaffe and Grand Kafa), gained a strategic partner keen to further develop its brands and market positions, while Atlantic Grupa significantly strengthened its position. Today, Atlantic is a business with a turnover of around 650 million euros, a huge distribution and manufacturing network, 4300 employees, and a presence in 11 countries with own companies. “Droga Kolinska and Atlantic Grupa have highly 22

“Entering new markets is a continuous effort, it is easier to introduce new products into a market where we already have some activities”

complementary portfolios, in the sense of similar regional coverage with barely any overlap of products,” Mr Tedeschi said at the time of the takeover. Kasapović agrees that Atlantic Grupa is now a more formidable proposition: “We are today a strong producer and a strong distributor in all of the regional markets. Our product portfolio is in a higher range of profitability for the retailers and on a strong demand with consumers, which gives us easier entry and a good position with our partners. The complexity of business requires more effort to manage, and we deal very well with our complexity. On the other hand, size does add up on the strength scale in negotiations.”


?????????

Goglio A flexible choice for unique solutions Goglio, a leading multinational company with headquarters in Italy, production plants and commercial offices in Europe, Americas and Asia, is specialized in the production of complete flexible packaging systems. Since the start of its activity the Group, founded in 1850 near Milan (Italy), owes its success to the ability to anticipate market needs through innovative solutions capable of satisfying the ever-evolving demands of its clients. Multilayer high barrier laminates, equipment and plastic components make up what is known as Fres-co System®, the trademark that identifies Goglio’s offer together with innovation, service and quality, conceived to meet the needs of different products such as coffee, foodstuffs, pet food, detergents and industrial chemicals - a wide range of package sizes and formats, from a few millimeters to 1500 liters. The flexible container is an effective and practical promotional vehicle: particular shapes and sizes, the absence of sharp edges make every package unique, precious and recognizable, all the finishing options that can be applied contribute to improve daily aspects and use: fast and precise easyopening systems, handles for a helpful and simple transportation, spouts for pouring the content and reclosing systems (adhesive tape and tin-tie) for product preservation even after opening. Goglio S.p.A. Via dell’Industria, 7, 21020 Daverio (VA) Tel. +39 0332-940111 Fax. +39 0332-940201 www.goglio.it

Flexible packaging preserves product characteristics thanks to the technical properties of the laminates it is made up of, whilst enhancing brand image through sophisticated printing effects. Constant Research and Development together with studies on shelf-life products lead to the development of a wide range of successful solutions in which every aspect represents an advantage: reduction of weight, volume and waste, lower warehouse and shipping costs. Goglio moreover dedicates significant resources and energy to innovation in full respect of the environment, successfully developing ecocompatible and biodegradable laminates. The “green” soul of the Group, however, is still most evident in the attention which Goglio dedicates to the reduction of environmental impact of its plants: in all of its printing and laminating processes inks and adhesives are formulated with a single solvent, recovered and recycled on-site thanks to a sophisticated plant. These same principles are also adopted in the Group’s other production plants: the far-sighted strategies of the owners and the rigor adopted for a greater eco-compatibility of the manufacturing process have made Goglio a pioneer in the implementation of the “Best Available Technologies”. For these and for other reasons, in its 160 years of history the Group has gained and consolidated its position as world leader in flexible packaging systems. 23


Atlantic Grupa

So then, it’s true - Atlantic Grupa is the standard-bearer for economic reintegration in the fragmented lands of the former Yugoslavia. “You could say that. Several media used the example to show how economy helps connect the countries of the former Yugoslavia and reintegrate the region without any political connotations. We are a strong regional company with a balanced business in all of the countries of exYugoslavia, relative to the size and development stage of the country or market. In each of these countries we are a local company that produces locally, pays local taxes, employs local people, and helps the local community. We are, on the other hand, treating the region as a whole as our home market. Our brands have regional recognition and are well known in all regional markets to the extent that some of them are a synonym for the category. They are well known for their tradition and quality, and are a consumers’ first choice. These are countries where people speak very similar languages, which makes it

“Today, Atlantic is a business with a turnover of around 650 million euros, a huge distribution and manufacturing network, 4300 employees, and a presence in 11 countries with own companies” 24

“Atlantic Grupa has been built on solid foundations, on which a healthy development can take roots. In a matter of speaking, Atlantic Grupa was going to develop precisely like it did - it was the idea from the beginning”


Atlantic Grupa

easy to communicate, they have similar habits and requirements and it is only logical that cooperation in economy should be intense. Our example shows exactly this. Many of our in-house experts and managers have been shifted between Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia, and even Germany.” Atlantic Grupa’s aggressive expansion has made it an investor’s dream. “Entering new markets is a continuous effort,” says Kasapović. “It is easier to introduce new products into a market where we already have some activities. For instance, our product line of baby food, Bebi, is made in Slovenia and marketed exclusively in Russia and Ukraine, so it was easier to successfully introduce another product, Donat Mg, which as a functional water naturally rich with magnesium has excellent results in these markets in the pharmacy sales channel. Brands produced in Serbia, which were for a long period not present in the Croatian market, such as, say Smoki flips, are easier to introduce back into the market because the consumer is familiar with it,

“Even though we expect 2012 to be at the least equally challenging from the macroeconomic aspect, we are confident in further top-line and profitability growth” Emil Tedeschi, president and CEO

26

Hatzopoulos S.A. A. Hatzopoulos S.A. specializes in flexible packaging converting. Founded in 1931, today we are one of the fastest growing packaging converters in the European market. Continuously investing in innovative and advanced technological, environmental and quality systems, we offer sustainable, high quality and competitive packaging solutions. With regard to our partner, Atlantic Group, we support them in the field of beverages and snack packaging, easy peel and X-laser cut packaging solutions. Exporting in 25 countries, the annual growth of Hatzopoulos is steadily higher than this of the packaging market, which is reflected in the efficiency improvement of our clients throughout the entire supply chain.


Atlantic Grupa

and hence it takes less investments than introducing a completely new product. Completely new entries take serious research and return on investment assessments.” The Group’s brand portfolio includes strong local, regional and, increasingly, panEuropean brands. “We are working on three platforms – local/national, regional and international. Some of our brands are very strong in local terms. Take Plidenta, for example. This is the leading toothpaste in Croatia, before all local and international competition. We will continue to develop this brand and defend our position, but there is hardly potential for it to go further. There are genuine regional brands, such as Cedevita or Smoki. These are a synonym for the category of vitamin drink and flips in the whole region, have very high recognition and consumer loyalty. Finally, brands like Multipower, or Argeta spread or Donat Mg, have a large international presence and potential, and this will continue to be our focus in their development. Essentially, it is a principle on which most successful international corporations base their business.” Tedeschi has said in the past that Atlantic Grupa could structure a serious entry into the U.S. market. Kasapović agrees, but it is a way off. “This is not something we will 28

exclude, but we are for the time being focused to the region and Europe. We are an ambitious company, but realistic as well and reasonable in our strategy planning. It would be great to be able to open as many new markets as possible, but as versatile as we are in our business model we must maintain focus and evolve gradually in order to be able to grow continuously in the long run.” Atlantic Grupa continues to outperform its rivals despite a tough trading environment. The management and the company’s employees have successfully executed the first phase and entered strongly the second phase of Droga Kolinska’s integration. Sales and operating profitability are also up. “Even though we expect 2012 to be at the least equally challenging from the macroeconomic aspect, we are confident in further top-line and profitability growth and thereby to achieve this goal we put focus on realisation of synergy potentials, organic growth through active brand management and innovations, costs optimisation, active risk management and further fulfilment of financial obligations,” says Tedeschi. The firm is well poised, Kasapović says. “Atlantic Grupa has been built on solid foundations, on which a healthy development can take roots. In a matter of speaking, Atlantic Grupa was going to


With innovative creation, production, and marketing of aromas and food ingredients we guarantee our business partners the highest added value to their products. With our help, sensory characteristics of our partners’ products are well recognised and appreciated by customers.

Partner chosen by taste ETOL d.d., Škofja vas 39, POB 426, SI-3211 Škofja vas, SLOVENIA , Tel.: +386 (0)3 42 77 100 Fax.: +386 (0)3 42 77 118 info@etol.com www.etol.si

develop precisely like it did - it was the idea from the beginning, but it had to take time and it required patience to build the business with smaller chunks and larger, gradually, wisely, and successfully. Sure, we must have made some wrong moves along the way, but the important thing is that we made far more right moves. We think things through, but remain quick to react. We develop more systematic solutions as we grow, but maintain our flexibility. We build a company so that it doesn’t depend on just one element – one product, one customer, one sales channel, or one man. We diversify and seize opportunities, but stay focused on the other hand. It is a balance we continuously try to keep. There is no universal formula to succeed and prosper, sometimes you need a splash of luck, but in our case this complex formula is working and we try to improve it every day.” To learn more about Atlantic Grupa visit www.atlanticgrupa.com. 29


Snow SNOW ARENA

joke... you can ski in summer!

The Snow Arena is a huge new indoor winter sports centre, which Tourism officials in Lithuania believe will help to attract more overseas visitors to the country. By Ian Armitage

30


T

he Snow Arena, located in the resort town of Druskininkai, a popular wellbeing destination, is the only winter entertainment complex in the Baltics with both an enclosed and open ski slope and it is already enticing people from throughout the country and across Europe. It opened in 2011 and the temperatures in the huge indoor winter sports centre are maintained at a constant level of two degrees below zero. Every day up to 15 snow generators generate a winter environment in both the main and beginner tracks. “The Snow Arena is the only winter activities complex in the Baltic countries that works all year round,” says the arena’s general manager Vytautas Zibuda. “It is also the only indoor ski complex with adjacent outdoor ski fields in the world. “Since opening in August 2011, the complex has had over 150,000 visitors.” With three ski slopes stretched across eight hectares, the Snow Arena is one of the largest indoor

winter sports arenas in the world, constructed to provide year-round skiing at a cost of some 32 million euros. The arena uses a Powder Star Series technology to produce snow, which is created using compressed air and cold water, without chemical and bacterial additives. “The quality of snow, which will be produced year-round, is suitable for skiing and winter boardsports,” says Zibuda. In addition to the enclosed and open ski slopes, Snow Arena provides a number of other entertainment options. The Snow Arena complex houses “DruSkiSchool”, a skiing and snowboarding school, whose instructors work under the “SmartSnow” 31


SNOW ARENA

training system, for which its primary goal is to quickly and effectively teach visitors to ski or snowboard. It also offers the DruFunPark, a four-level entertainment complex for children, and several restaurants and bars, including a (real) ice bar by Absolut and a wine bar. There is also a clothing and equipment rental service. “We have it all,” says Zibuda, who explained the project was implemented under the 20072013 Cohesion Promotion Action Programme, which specified “local and urban development, conservation of cultural heritage and nature and their use for tourism development” and “the creation and development of eco (cognitive) tourism, recreation and health improvement infrastructure”. “UAB Stamita is the company behind the Snow Arena,” he says. “For Lithuania, which is rapidly developing as a tourist destination for visitors from Western Europe, it is yet another feather in Druskininkai’s tourism cap. 32

“With three ski slopes stretched across eight hectares, the Snow Arena is one of the largest indoor winter sports arenas in the world, constructed to provide yearround skiing at a cost of some 32 million euros”

To learn more visit:

www.snowarena.it

“It was built to attract more overseas visitors to the country and that is happening.” The Druskininkai resort is one of the most popular places to visit all year round in Lithuania. The resort is gifted with mineral waters and curative mud and it has been popular for centuries with Lithuanians and people from neighbouring countries. “The nearest competing indoor snow arenas are found in Moscow, Russia and Hamburg, Germany,” says Zibuda. “Apart from the recently completed construction of the complex, in conjunction with the Druskininkai City Council, and after completion of the technical project side, a lift is to be built connecting the hotel complex in town up to the Snow Arena over the Nemunas River, which will be a direct easy access link for patrons. The project is looking for investors at this stage.” There are also proposals for a bungee jumping complex. A recent visitor told European Outlook the Snow Arena as a “very impressive facility”.


ACI EUROPE

WE CAN’T FLY ON CLIPPED WINGS airport body warns By 2030 two hundred and fifty million passengers will be unable to fly because of Europe’s lack of airport capacity, says Olivier Jankovec, DG of ACI Europe representing 400 airports. “We need a more supportive policy and regulatory framework that gives us new business opportunities and a licence to grow. By Colin Chinery.

I

s airtime running out for Europe’s airports? Congestion, expansion gridlocks, political inertia, and the power shift in the global economy are now major threats, says ACI Europe’s Director General Olivier Jankovec. And the man who heads ‘The Voice of Europe’s Airports’ warns that potential consequences reach far beyond the perimeter fence. “People don’t realise we are heading into the wall, not only

34

in the aviation sector but also by creating obstacles and handicaps to economic development. And it will hurt.” Representing more than 400 airports in 46 European countries, ACI members handle 90 percent of commercial air traffic in Europe, welcoming nearly 1.5 billion passengers and over 17 million tonnes of freight annually in 20 million aircraft movements. With the structure of the global economy changing, Europe

has become more and more dependent on external trade. And since aviation fuels global trade, its significance for Europe becomes increasingly important, says Jankovec. “Emerged countries understand this very well and are banking on aviation - and in particular airport development to position themselves and their economies on the global scene. To give you one example - China is building 78 airports in 20 years!”


The underlying issue is the change taking place in global aviation reflecting the shift in the global economy. “Europe and North America used to be the world’s biggest aviation market in terms of passenger and freight volumes. That is until now. If we look at the next twenty years we are facing an aviation market that will be completely different, with the biggest by far being Asia Pacific, one that by 2030 will be twice the size of the European market.” The challenge for Europe’s airports and for European aviation says Jankovec, is how to remain relevant globally and an attractive market for airlines. “How do we boost our competitive position? There are several angles to this, the first being how can we make sure we can offer the capacity that will be needed. Even if our ranking as a region goes down in terms of global traffic, we still face a doubling of traffic demand.” “Yet if we look at the existing plans for expanding Europe’s airports and even if we assume they will be delivered on time – and it’s increasingly difficult for Europe’s airports to get licenses to grow - we would still face an inability to cope with 10 percent of this demand by 2030.” “Put another way, it means there will be 250 million passengers unable to fly because of Europe’s lack of airport capacity. We are heading to a situation where close to 20 European major airports could face congestion levels similar to those faced by London Heathrow today.” Amongst the obstacles to airport expansion, the magisterial slow march of planning procedures looms large. “It can take 20 years to get permission to build a new runway or terminal and this means you will never

keep up with demand. And these procedures are extremely costly to airports and make up a rising share of the costs of expansion.” However the biggest obstacle to expansion is not physical constraints but public opposition, says Jankovec, citing the night flight ban at Frankfurt Airport that has led Lufthansa to consider selling its freighter fleet. “As we’ve seen there, even when you have the physical capacity to expand you continue to face a lot of opposition. It’s an increasing difficulty.” Airport expansion in Europe may be a hot political debate but it lacks the wider perspective. “Of course you must limit the impact of aviation on the environment, and European airports have been developing balanced strategies for decades and so are very mindful of this.” “But ultimately you are looking to balance the interests of a few people living around an airport with the wider interest of a nation

“The biggest obstacle to expansion is not physical constraints but public opposition, citing the night flight ban at Frankfurt Airport that has led Lufthansa to consider selling its freighter fleet”

or a region. And the interests of the few tend to prevail. The case for aviation in terms of its benefits to the general interest and the economy is there - it’s indisputable, especially in the context of this global shift in the world economy.” Proof of this can be clearly seen in emerged countries, where airport expansion – viewed as a strategic economic asset - is happening at a rapid pace. Interestingly Jankovec notes that governments in countries in the south and periphery of Europe share a similar mindset. “They have a much more acute realisation and perception of the dependence of their economy on aviation. Airports are driving the economies of the regions they serve. At Munich Airport for example – looking at figures from 2008 – a new company was setting up office there every seventeen days. This shows in concrete terms the fantastic magnet and dynamism of an airport in terms of local economic development.” “The position in Britain is of real concern to us. It’s not moving forward, no decision is being taken, and after years of consultation over airport expansion in the southeast we are in the midst of yet again another consultation. The whole issue is being held off by politics with the end result that no good is being done to the London area or UK plc. Even if you take account of the possibility of having a totally brand new airport in the Thames Estuary, it’s going to take 20 years to get it. It’s a 20 years fix. “But what south east England needs is increased capacity at a much faster pace. 20 years is a long time and in the meanwhile you are increasing congestion and creating a handicap to the global position of Britain.” 35


ACI EUROPE

Finance has been a major issue since the onset of the global financial crisis in 2008-2009, up until when airports were notably attractive to private finance. “However since the global crisis it’s become much more difficult and far more expensive. The capital markets are not willing to lend to airports, and with capital expenditure now 31 percent of our costs it’s a major issue. And since 2010, while airports have cut their investments by 19 percent because of the economic environment, their capital costs rose by 23 percent.” Here again Jankovec notes Europe’s disadvantage compared with airports elsewhere. “Firstly there’s no sovereign debt crisis in Asia or Latin America, and secondly with growth prospects nearly double ours they are far more attractive to financiers and private capital.” There is a new and further complication: European policy and regulatory frameworks no longer give investors the duration of legal certainty experienced hitherto. “The UK is a very good example. Here is a country where there was an established airport policy that said there would be a third runway at Heathrow. Then all of a sudden the rules of the game are changed and it emerges that there will be no third runway.” “And you do this after you have privatised Heathrow and attracted capital. In terms of presenting airports as an attractive and secure place for investment, this kind of thing is sending a dreadful message to private investors. “Contrast this with the greater legal and policy certainty in emerged countries where airport development is regarded as a national strategy issue and you can see that the competitive 36

“As these challenges stack up in the skies, European airports are responding with a drive for greater efficiencies and passenger care. “Efficiency, especially of ground operations, is becoming increasingly relevance, especially for congested airports”

position of European airports as an attractive place for investment is now at risk.” While air traffic has recovered since 2010 it has not been matched by a proportionate revival in aeronautical revenues, as airports shoulder an increasing volume of industry risk. As a result airports are looking at diversification, with commercial activities now key. “Commercialisation is a reality and here to stay. First and foremost airports face increasing pressure from airlines in respect of airport charges. And what we are seeing as a result of airline consolidation is a complete shift in the balance of the airport/ airline relationship. Airlines are now exercising increasing dominance over airports and dictating the terms on which they are prepared to use the infrastructure and pay for it. “You can see this already in numbers. The charges paid directly by airlines to the airport


re-building of terminals one after the other and basically re-defining passenger experience. And I see a lot of other hubs investing in this area.” Ground handling – now widely externalised - is another important operational area activities ranging from checking in to aircraft cleaning and baggage loading, re-fuelling to de-icing.

“Before 9/11 security took up eight percent of operating costs; now it is 28 percent, with typically 41 percent of airport staff security-related” for the use of the infrastructures amount to 19 percent of our overall revenues. And even if you take account the amount paid by passengers for the infrastructure usage it still leaves us with an annual under-recovery of some five billion euros. Clearly the airlines and the passengers are not paying for the full cost of the infrastructure they are using and these pressures on the level of charges will only increase.” As these challenges stack up in the skies, European airports are responding with a drive for greater efficiencies and passenger care. “Efficiency, especially of ground operations, is becoming increasingly relevance, especially for congested airports. So too is the issue of quality. And what we are seeing is an greater share of capital expenditure going not to developing infrastructure but to improving it.” “BA and London Heathrow is a very good example with the

“The focus should now be on improving the quality of these services. We have very little control over what the ground handlers are doing, and we want airports empowered to co-ordinate their activities and set minimum standards of service quality.” “While these companies are using our facilities and structure, we have no authority on how they are performing - we are just one of the actors involved, one part of the equation. And this has a direct impact on the quality and efficiency of ground operations.” Of all the issues affecting passenger experience airport security is the biggest. Before 9/11 security took up eight percent of operating costs; now it is 28 percent, with typically 41 percent of airport staff security-related. “We have transformed ourselves into big security companies but at the same time we’ve not been able to achieve this in a way that

increases passenger satisfaction. Quite the contrary.” “And here the main cause is the regulatory framework. Since 9/11 we have kept adding layers after layers of regulations, new rules and checks without looking to see if this is the way to achieve the best security framework. It’s time we looked at the aviation security system and start thinking out of the box, looking both at effective security and the kind of service our passengers expect. We want a complete change in philosophy but this is in the hands of our regulators.” “At the moment we are treating every single passenger as a potential terrorist and this simply isn’t effective. We want a system where the focus is more on differentiating between passengers based on collected data information, and with different check points.” With the sector undergoing a corporate culture transformation and management moving from infrastructure overseers to service providers, Jankovec re-iterates his call for governmental and legislative support. “Airports are continuing to go through a business transformation. We are increasingly competitive concerns, tackling the challenge of quality and efficiency very seriously. But as a key to the economy we need a more supportive policy and regulatory framework, one that gives us new business opportunities and a licence to grow.” “Aviation is extremely good for society. And given where the global economy is heading - and Europe increasingly dependent on external trade - we need a policy framework that understands and supports us if European aviation is to deliver for the public good.” 37


Low-cost

boom? Lithuanian airports continue to expand

38


KAUNAS AIRPORT

T

hink Kaunas is a hotbed of postSoviet mafia? Think again. It is a vibrant city, the second largest in Lithuania, and a thriving cultural and industrial centre. “Kaunas is a city on the up and up,” says Jurate Baltrusaityte, Commercial Manager of Kaunas Airport. Kaunas Airport, which has grown rapidly following the expansion of Irish budget carrier Ryanair in mid-2010, is one of the Baltic region’s fastest growing airports. “We were delighted when Ryanair opened its 40th and first Central European base at Kaunas in May 2010,” says Baltrusaityte. “It is the largest airline at the airport.”

“We were delighted when Ryanair opened its 40th and first Central European base at Kaunas in May 2010, It is the largest airline at the airport”

European Outlook talks to Jurate Baltrusaityte, Commercial Manager of Kaunas Airport, one of the Baltic region’s fastest growing airports. By Ian Armitage

She explains that things are about to get even better for the airport in 2012, with plans for several new routes, while Ryanair is also looking set up an aircraft maintenance, repair and operations unit in Kaunas to support its Boeing 737-800 fleet maintenance requirements. “It is an exciting time. Kaunas Airport is appearing in the European arena as attractive airport in terms of business expansion and investment.” The airport, located some 15km northeast of Kaunas, started operations in 1988. In 1991, after Lithuania’s independence, it was established as an international airport, Baltrusaityte says. 39


KAUNAS AIRPORT

A new terminal for passengers was opened in March 2008, designed to handle up to 800,000 passengers per year. “Further terminal extension is planned, with a higher annual passenger throughput,” Baltrusaityte explains, attributing a lot of the airport’s recent successes to having a vision for the future and finding the right market. “Kaunas has been an international airport for many years, although, until the arrival of Ryanair, there was a niche in the Lithuanian air travel market, a need for low-cost travel. We succeed and Ryanair landed base at Kaunas Airport in 2010; it was a revolutionary step and that year we recorded biggest growth in Europe – a 77 percent leap in passenger numbers.” Four international airlines use Kaunas. And it is expanding. “We have obviously Ryanair, while we also have IrAero, a Russian airline operating

from Kaunas to Moscow Domodedovo, Air Baltic, and now WOW Air, which is operated by Avion Express,” says Baltrusaityte. Icelandic carrier WOW air will connect Kaunas to Reykjavik starting from June 11, 2012. The airline will operate a 168-seater Airbus A320-200 on the route. The flights will be operated once a week, on Mondays. “This exciting destination is great news. Adding Reykjavik to the Kaunas flight map means we will have a total of 24 destinations to choose from for our passengers.” WOW air is a young airline, founded in 2011, operating a fleet of Airbus A320-200 aircraft. Its flight network covers 12 European airports. Kaunas will be the 13th one. WOW airfares include taxes and baggage allowance of up to 20 kg for each passenger.

Litcargus Established in 1993 Litcargus is the first independent private owned ground handling company in Lithuania. Starting from a Lufthansa flights handling team, Litcargus has grown to a well known trustworthy partner for airlines in Vilnius Airport. In 2004 the Kaunas branch was opened. Taking into account high quality service can be provided even under time pressure, low fare airline Ryanair expanded its operations and opened a base here. In summer 2011 Litcargus arrived to Palanga, covering all commercial airports of Lithuania. A dedicated team of highly qualified employees provides high quality service ensuring customer satisfaction offering full range of ground handling services: passenger and baggage handling, ramp services, ticketing, GSA, VIP services along with a modern and fully equipped cargo terminal in Vilnius. This year Litcargus shall change its brand name and will be known as Central European Airport Services (CEAS). Following strategy of constant growth, together with new owners Royalton Capital Investors II L.P., CEAS has targeted to become the strong and reliable partner for airlines in Central Europe, beginning to provide our services in the first Polish airport for summer 2012.

40


KAUNAS AIRPORT

Advanced Logistics Group Advanced Logistics Group (ALG) is the transport and logistics practice of Europraxis management consultancy group. Our services cover the entire business and infrastructure life cycles for transportation and logistics, from strategy to implementation.

It guarantees safe and comfortable trip, offering spacious aircraft for the longlegged, healthy nourishment for the health conscious and happy friendly staff for all passengers. “The new route will be for the summer of 2012,” Baltrusaityte says. Although Kaunas does not compare itself to major hubs like Copenhagen, Oslo or Stockholm, the rampant upward trend in passenger traffic has been positive and the future is bright, says Baltrusaityte. Last year’s traffic at Lithuanian airports was the highest on record. “Passenger numbers here have not dropped in nine years. We believe it is a successful strategy to follow further.” According to data from the Statistic Department, a total of 2.7 million passengers passed through Lithuanian airports (Vilnius, Kaunas and Palanga) in 2011, a 17.9 percent hike compared to 2010. “Air transportation is being expanded very successfully in the country,” says Baltrusaityte. “To support that growth further terminal extension is planned. We haven’t set a clear timeline for that yet, but we are planning moderate modernisation in 2012.” Kaunas Airport reported two times more passengers in 2011 42

“Last year’s traffic at Lithuanian airports was the highest on record”

and passenger flow went up by eight percent. “We consider the years 20102011 to be very good for the airport,” Baltrusaityte explains. The Airport also recognises the significance of financing of European Union structural funds, which have helped improve infrastructure. “EU funds are crucial in improving the infrastructure of all the airports. Only renovated and well performing Lithuanian airports can succeed in attracting more new air carriers and increasing passenger flows. “Several serious projects have been completed using EU financing at Kaunas.” And the good times are set to continue, with the launch of a new air hotel. “A Norwegian-Lithuanian JV company has established Air Hotel and have rented the land right next to the passenger

Working in close conjunction with the excellent management team at Kaunas Airport we have supported the airport´s development through the development of the terminal area feasibility study, the Kaunas Airpark feasibility study and the Airport´s Master Plan. These studies involved a full range of our skills including traffic forecasting, terminal and airport infrastructure planning, commercial and ancillary development, ground access strategy, financial and economic feasibility.

terminal in which to construct their hotel,” says Baltrusaityte. “It is an economy class hotel and discussions with the hotel chains are underway now and are at an advanced stage. An agreement should be reached soon. In the first stage there should be 90 rooms available. There are four stages of the hotel development plan and there might be development of up to 400 rooms.” She is excited by the project. “It will be great for passengers. They’ll be offered a really convenient service, at low cost.” To learn more about Kaunas Airport visit www.kaunas-airport.lt.


LIEGE AIRPORT

44


Liege

Airport to invest ‘millions’ in 2012

Financial turmoil sweeping the eurozone couldn’t restrain Liege Airport’s 2011 cargo volumes, which increased 5.5 percent, year-over-year. Here the gateway outlines a range of investments it’ll make in 2012. By Ian Armitage

T

he end of 2011 saw a new record for the transport of goods at Liege Airport. During the month of December 2011, 55,807.95 tons of goods passed through the airport. “Even the turmoil in eurozone hasn’t restrained us,” Liege Airport’s communications manager, Christian Delcourt, tells European Outlook. Liege Airport saw 54,403 aircraft movements in 2011, compared to 48,515 in 2010, he says. The airport’s general director Luc Partoune said these numbers speak to Liege’s focus on growth. 45


LIEGE AIRPORT

AVIENT As a freighter specialist, Avient demands reliable business partners to enable our continuing growth. LGG airport at the heart of Europe’s cargo triangle provides a central point for our weekly scheduled flights between Europe & Africa. It also acts as the European hub for our part/full charter operations worldwide. Avient specialises in offering flexible, quick global solutions for the movement of all cargo types. LGG airport plays a vital role in supporting these services.

“While international air transport of goods decreased by four percent, on average, in the six months that followed the financial crisis, our airport continues to develop, with five percent growth in traffic for the year,” Partoune said in a statement. “The operators on site are expanding their business activities. … This is undeniably a strong performance in a gloomy economic context.” December 2011 was particularly lucrative for Liege Airport. The airport handled 55,808 tonnes of freight, a 6.7-percent jump from December 2010. Delcourt hopes this number goes up even higher as 46

“December 2011 was particularly lucrative for Liege Airport. The airport handled 55,808 tonnes of freight, a 6.7-percent jump from December 2010”

Swissport increases its cargo presence at the airport. “Swissport is expanding its current warehouse from 3,900 square metres to 6,500 square metres,” he says. The ground-handling company will also rent a 6,200 square metre warehouse in the north zone of Liege Airport, which was recently constructed by the firm Liege Airport Business Park. Patrick Minsart, General Manager Swissport Belgium, said of the deal: “These investments show that Swissport has the intention to grow at and with Liege Airport. We are convinced that with can contribute to the successes of our client airline companies


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with our new working methods and the latest technology. Moreover, our increased capacity at the airport thanks to the new warehouse will relieve our current saturated warehouse and it will create new business opportunities for both parties”. The investment provides a strong signal for the future growth of the airport and for an ever better service. As an international business centre, Liege Airport is not only a major economic actor in its region, but also a shop window for its dynamism, capacities for innovation, values and traditions, says Delcourt. “Our slogan, ‘the wings of success’, illustrates a desire to spread 47


LIEGE AIRPORT

Altitude Global Altitude Global are renowned for providing hand picked aviation engineering teams to customers worldwide. Our capabilities include line maintenance, maintenance services, fixed price projects and training.

our wings wide and progress even further. Liege Airport’s ambition is to play the role of economic partner efficiently and comprehensively, mainly in the field of logistics, to a whole region and to businesses, which have chosen or will choose to work with it. It has now become a business magnet that has far outgrown its historical links with air traffic, as a business and travel centre, the airport

also aims to develop new services and products, outside of air traffic. These commercial revenues will lead to greater profitability for the business, protect it from economic variations of air traffic and promote our independence from the State.” The airport site as a whole has become an economic village, open for business 24/7, and more than 75 businesses are already located there.

We provide a full range of aerospace engineering support services and specialise in the provision of dedicated specialist teams for fixed price projects, EASA licensed engineers, FAA certifying mechanics, mechanics, sheet metal specialists and fuel tank experts. Our contract personnel are highly skilled, experienced and accountable. Our achievements include: • EASA Approved Line stations: Liege and Brussels Belgium, Leipzig Germany, Venice, Bergamo and Ancona Italy and Malta. • EASA Part 145 approvals: B747-400, B737CL, B757, B767, A320 A300B4, A300600, Pending A330, B737NG & B777 • EASA Part 147 approvals: B737ng, B747-400/-8, B757, B767, B777, Pending A320 & A330. • Part 145 training: EWIS, Human Factors and SFAR88 All courses can be tailored to meet specific customer requirements. To learn more visit www.altitudeglobal.aero.

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LIEGE AIRPORT

Cegelec Cegelec Maintenance and Services provides preventive and corrective maintenance of HVAC and electricity installations. Our “Energy Management” speciality aims at reducing the energy costs of our customers by proposing an analysis and an improvement of their technical installations. We are present in multiple environments such as:

“Liege Airport’s aim is to meet and anticipate their needs by offering an ever more comprehensive suite of services: development of building stock, creation of meeting places and rooms, VIP areas, restaurants etc.,” says Delcourt. “Development will also depend on synergies that we must find and effectively coordinate with other multimodality operators in the region, in order to make Liege a major centre of excellence in logistics. The port of Liege, 50

“Liege Airport will invest some 11 million euros in 2012”

• Offices (private and public) • Industrial buildings • Hospitals, health centers and laboratories • Sport arenas, swimming pools Cegelec guarantees a local service to its customers. Therefore we operate through several agencies of which one is located in Liège, at the airport of Bierset.


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Cegelec has annual revenues of around 2.8 billion euros and employs 25,000 people in some 30 countries around the world. Cegelec is active on the complete service cycle to the client, from design to installation and maintenance, working with its own specialised teams. Cegelec provides technological services and solutions in the following sectors: ➤ Energy, Electricity ➤ Automation, Instrumentation and Control ➤ Information and Communication Technologies ➤ HVAC, Mechanics ➤ Maintenance and Services.


LIEGE AIRPORT

the third largest inland port in Europe, the TGV station, businesses operating in the logistics chain, the University of Liege and ‘grandes écoles’ (graduate schools), are all working with us towards the success of this ambitious project.” Liege Airport will invest some 11 million euros in 2012. “It is ambitious,” says Delcourt. “The investment will obviously see us construct the

“While international air transport of goods decreased by four percent, on average, in the six months that followed the financial crisis, our airport continues to develop, with five percent growth in traffic for the year”

new cargo handling facility in the north zone at a cost of five million euros, which I’ve mentioned; it will see the construction of a fourth storage tank for the fuel farm and improvements to the flow rate of the pipeline; and it will also see the construction of a new Border Inspection Post (BIP).

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LIEGE AIRPORT

“All these developments are designed to support business growth and to supply a quality of service adapted to the demands of cargo companies and logistics businesses working on the site.” Liege Airport is Belgium’s largest cargo airport and the seventh largest cargo airport in Europe. Unfortunately, it reported a 10 percent decrease in cargo traffic during January, not long after reporting a record year in 2011. In the first month of 2012, just over 48,000 tonnes of freight were transported through 54

“The airport site as a whole has become an economic village, open for business 24/7, and more than 75 businesses are already located there”

Liege Airport compared with the 53,600 tonnes recorded in January 2011: representing a decline of 9.9 percent. The airport remains upbeat and said the results demonstrate how the global economic crisis was affecting air cargo traffic in general. “In 2012, more than 11 million euros of investments have been planned to improve the range of cargo services available here and we believe commercial prospects are good,” Delcourt concludes. To learn more about the Airport and its range of cargo services visit www.liegeairport.com.


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ZURICH INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT

Made, Swiss

world acclaimed Zurich is one of the world’s top airports, famed for its efficiency, human scale and air of sophistication. And new developments have reenforced its elite reputation among business and leisure travellers. CEO Thomas E. Kern talks about the international airport with the Swiss Quality touch. By Colin Chinery

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I

n Switzerland, says Harry Lime in the film ‘The Third Man’, they had brotherly love, 500 years of democracy and peace. “And what did that produce? The cuckoo clock.” But the clock has long timed out. Today exports account for 50 percent of Switzerland’s GDP. Medicinal and pharmaceutical products, watches and clocks, technology for special industry and metalworking machinery and tools move from the Alpine nation to discriminating customers. And Lime got it wrong: cuckoo clocks are from Black Forest, and ‘Swiss Made’ a globally recognised guarantee of precision and excellence. Qualities that make Zurich International Airport (ZRH) a world favourite, celebrated for passenger services and high standards. “A great airport, with excellent connections,” says top British travel writer Simon Calder. The travel industry concurs. In the World Travel Awards – the Oscars of the


sorting system, and for the second time in a travel industry - Zurich has won the ‘Europe’s row we have won the Skytrax award for the Leading Airport’ title for eight years in a row. best worldwide baggage sorting system. If you And the awards roll on; Business Traveller fly into Zurich, your guaranteed minimum Award for best transfer airport in Europe, connecting time is 40 minutes, and you have and second in the category ‘Best Airport in the best guarantee that you bag will join you!” the World.’ says Kern. Ten kilometres north of the city of Zurich, Dock B also has a compelling visitor Zurich Airport is Switzerland’s largest attraction – an observation deck. Each year international gateway and hub for Swiss more than 300,000 aviation enthusiasts and International Airlines. Its three runways families visit the airport for a sight of the and 100-plus passenger gateways. It serves airplanes. On the 250-metre-long roof terrace domestic flights and top flag-carrying airlines media installations and exhibits broaden the to cities and major towns across the globe. And experience with facts about the airport and with passenger volumes up 6.4 percent to 24.3 flight operations and special features for million last year – 40 percent business travel, younger visitors. 60 percent leisure – Zurich is flying high and At four observation points rising. “We are a Swiss quality guests can use a medial telescope airport and the strategy is to stay a to observe the airport grounds and Swiss quality airport,” says Zurich interactively request additional Airport CEO Thomas E. Kern. “The ASQ information about the airport Two recent developments (Airport and flight operations. The real ensure it remains so; the new Service environment is viewed through Dock B, and a purpose building the Airport Scopes, with airplanes for centralised security controls. Quality) and airport buildings virtually With 26 lines on four floors, it Awards survey tagged. Six of the electronic places security control at the start always says displays show technical details of the process. ”At other airports it we have and information on parked comes somewhat in between the aircraft, while insights into check-in and gate. We put it at the very reliable the flight operations - take-off very beginning which makes us connection preparation for example - are very flexible and reduces waiting time” provided on glass panels. “It’s all time for our passengers to less about the fascination for flying than five minutes – and it’s mostly made visible and tangible for our zero or two minutes.” A positive airport fans,” Kern explains. Quality prevails in for passengers, the new start through to finish every detail, be it for passengers or visitors. system also increases revenue by expanding It’s a quality that has recently drawn time spent in the Airport’s attractive Airside leading international hotel operator Hyatt to Centre in the passenger area. the Airport, with management agreement for The new Dock B reinforces Zurich’s a Hyatt Regency and a Hyatt Place hotel in credentials as a quality airport, improving The Circle, one billion Swiss francs mixed use convenience and user-friendliness, not least development designed to be a new service hub following implementation of the Schengen and commercial centre. Agreement abolishing border controls between As well as these two Hyatt-branded hotels, 26 European countries. With Britain a nonThe Circle will feature an innovative mix of signatory British travellers to participant services within an ingenious infrastructure airports - a short flight to Hamburg for instance where upmarket offerings such as hotels, - pass through the non-Schengen floor but restaurants, office and event space engage with within the same building, which means the sophisticated lifestyles. Increasingly, Zurich least inconvenience and delay. lives out the observation that airports are “The ASQ (Airport Service Quality) Awards becoming destinations unto themselves, and survey always says we have very reliable with its unique amenities leads elite including connection times. To be reliable you have to Amsterdam’s Schiphol and Singapore’s Changi have an efficient and dependable baggage 57


ZURICH INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT

“We have found the right hotel company for our project, Hyatt is a perfect match for our positioning of ‘The Circle,” says Kern. “With this commitment about 25 percent of the total space will be occupied, an important step towards the realization of the project, which should begin next year and – if all goes well - be ready to open a first section in 2017.” Both Hyatt Regency and Hyatt Place are expected to become prime locations for corporate events, conferences and meetings. Zurich of course is among the world’s largest

financial centres and a prime location for corporate and government travellers. And with 50 shops open to passengers throughout the entire travel day - a luxury not afforded to other shops in Zurich – it is seen as a duty-free Eldorado, the combination of low prices and impressive range of products making it a shopping magnet for the business traveller. But there are issues. Zurich International is by far the largest airport in Switzerland (the 58

second biggest, in capital city Geneva, is half the size) and its growth constraints formidable. There is also – and parallel to it - a long-running noise controversy. “Noise is a problem with most of not all airports, but here at Zurich it is accentuated for two reasons,” explains Kern. “The first is that over the last 20 years the Airport has attracted so many people to live close by (24,000 work at the Airport) that we have become a city airport. It wasn’t planned like that; in fact initially it was outside the city. People around the airport are not against the airport but they are against further growth, and this hinders us. “Secondly, the airport is only 15km from the German border and there is an on-going noise-related conflict between Germany and Switzerland. A contract between the two states should be in place mid-year and this would solve this longlasting noise problem. Now while I’m rather optimistic, it’s far away from a solution.” So in 10 years says Kern, Zurich will have a capacity problem. “Currently we have this problem on a peak hour base – about four times a day - but overall we have some spare capacity. However, in 10 years that will be different and we will have reached a ceiling. Without a hub function, Geneva and Basle do not have this kind of capacity issue.” With the city of Zurich as a major shareholder, Zurich Airport’s strategic response to this potential stagnation in profit growth is two-pronged; The Circle and its international business, a portfolio of 10 airports, nine in South America and one in India, Bangalore. If airports give immediate clues to an area’s culture and lifestyle, then Zurich’s elegance,

SSP Switzerland With a heritage stretching over 60 years, today SSP has more than 30,000 employees, serving over five million customers every week. It has business in over 140 airports and more than 250 railway stations, and operates more than 2,150 units in over 30 countries around the world. SSP also has a strong presence in Switzerland with its head office at the Zurich Airport. For more than 9 years, SSP Switzerland has been at the forefront of airside gastronomic business within Zurich airport and currently represents 15 units. To achieve our success SSP Switzerland works closely with its partners to develop, bring to life and operate award winning food and beverage concepts such as the Center Bar which received the FAB Award 2011 for “Best Airport Bar Award”. At the heart of our operations we provide our travelling customers with the best quality product and service at all times to ensure their journey begins and ends with an amazing experience. We achieve this by continuously assessing and improving our offers and adjusting to market and consumer trends. To a large extent this is achieved by simply listening to our customers as well as maintaining and learning from our regular mystery shopping audit.

precision and refinement are visible at its international airport. “It’s the Swissness that differentiates us from other airports whether European or beyond,” says Kern. “We are not too big, we are efficient, we are reliable, you have this sense of personal safety, you won’t lose your bag, you get your connection, and we aim to be friendly, safe and clean.”



European Outlook / Issue 2