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Swiss airport operator seeks Venezuela arbitration
Aug 13 2010

Swiss airport operator Flughafen Zurich AG and a Chilean company have requested arbitration in a dispute with Venezuela in the latest case against the country before a World Bank tribunal.

The request relates to a 20-year contract signed with the Venezuelan government in 2004 to expand and run the international airport on the Caribbean island of Margarita.

Later that year, the regional authorities in Venezuela's Nueva Esparta state declared the agreement null and void and took over the airport facilities.

The World Bank's International Center for Settlement on Investment Disputes (ICSID) said on its website on Monday that it had agreed to take on the matter.

There are now 12 cases against Venezuela at the ICSID involving compensation claims totaling more than $43.5 billion, of which over $40 billion is from the oil sector and the rest from mining and cement companies.

Flughafen Zurich said on its website it and its Chilean partner, Gestion e Ingenieria IDC SA, had sought an amicable resolution until last year, when the Venezuelan central government took over the airport's operation.