Czech state won the first round of trial with PlaneStation Pilsen for the Líně Airport site
The Ministry of Defence has won the first round of the court case over the Líně Airport site with PlaneStation Pilsen. The company has leased the site, but has not paid rent for years. Volkswagen is considering building a CZK 120 billion electric car battery factory on the site of the former military airport. The state, which supports the so-called gigafactory, wants to build a strategic business park there. The Ministry's court case against PlaneStation Pilsen has been going on for ten years. This week, the Pilsen-North District Court ordered the company to vacate all the land and buildings it uses on the site. The Mladá fronta Dnes (MfD) daily reported this in its Pilsen regional supplement today. The verdict is not final and the company will appeal against it.
Once the judgment becomes final, it imposes a two-month deadline for the company to vacate the premises. "After more than ten years, the court has finally confirmed that the current operator of Líně Airport, PlaneStation, used the Líně Airport site illegally due to validly terminated lease agreements. Once the former tenant has vacated the airport, the state will be able to continue to dispose of the entire site in accordance with its long-term plans," the newspaper quotes the defence ministry as saying.
PlaneStation's managing director Petr Kutný said the company was waiting for the verdict and would appeal. In addition to the lawsuit for the eviction of the site, the ministry is also pursuing two other lawsuits against the company for the payment of outstanding rents and for the payment of unjust enrichment, which the state says is still being generated by the unauthorised use of the site.
In October 2013, a dispute between the army and PlaneStation Pilsen over the amount of rent started at the District Court of Pilsen-North. However, PlaneStation claims that the airport lease agreement was invalid from the start, MfD reports. The company argued that it was misled from the beginning because the runway is shorter and does not meet the conditions for international operations, which the army said it guaranteed in the contract.
News server Novinky.cz, which first highlighted the case, wrote that the company has been using the site since 2000 under a 50-year contract with the ministry. However, it stopped paying the rent in 2010. "According to estimates, PlaneStation currently owes roughly CZK 260 to 280 million in rent," Novinky reported.
The lease agreement for the site was terminated on 31 January 2013. However, the company continues to lease the buildings to entities that have nothing to do with the operation of the airport.
Source: MfD, Novinky.cz and CTK