RIGA - The wind tunnel set up by Aerodium at the Latvian pavilion at the Shanghai World Expo 2010 was originally built for Kazakh client Korono 2005, reports the daily Telegraf. Korono 2005 representative Kerim Mankeyev said that the Kazakh firm paid 1.2 million euros to Wind Tunnel Technologies in January 2009 for the installation of a wind tunnel at the Megacenter shopping and entertainment complex in Almaty.
“The agreement provided that the attraction would be put into operation already in November 2009; however, since then nothing has been done,” said Mankeyev, indicating that Wind Tunnel Technologies owner Ivars Beitans had sent the tunnel intended for Korono 2005 to the exhibition in Shanghai. According to Mankeyev, Beitans had not returned the money, but had only promised to install the tunnel in Almaty following the close of World Expo 2010 this autumn. Beitans doesn’t deny that the tunnel installed in Shanghai had been built for the Kazakh firm. “The agreement for the creation of the Latvian pavilion was signed too late, and we were physically unable to build a new tunnel in the [limited] time period, so we took a unit that was almost complete,” admitted Beitans, adding that otherwise fines would have had to be paid for late completion of the project. “You see, a year ago we had to decide whether to set up an attraction for Kazakhstan and pull out of Expo 2010, or the other way around. In any case someone would have been dissatisfied,” explained Beitans.
He refuted Mankeyev’s accusations of inappropriate behavior towards the Latvian government. Mankeyev had told the newspaper that the Kazakh firm had concluded an agreement for 1.2 million euros, while Latvia had paid 1.5 million lats (2.1 million euros), or 700,000 lats more. Beitans explained that Aerodium had also constructed the pavilion’s foundations and decorations, while this was not necessary for the project in Kazakhstan.
Aerodium says that they had informed the LIDA and the Economy Ministry about this situation before they signed the World Expo contract, specifying that the work on the Kazakh tunnel would continue. Work on the project in Kazakhstan is now behind schedule; representatives from the Kazakh firm still have not handed in data that is needed for completion of the wind tunnel designs.
The two projects are very different. The one at World Expo is a conceptually new wind tunnel - it is a facility with all necessary infrastructure, including showers, WCs, a transformer, a server, automated tunnel control and cooling systems, a system of cameras for filming customers in the wind tunnel, and other special technological solutions. The contract with the Kazakh company, on the other hand, envisages the construction of a simple wind tunnel, without wiring, facade, IT systems or other additions.
“We find it incomprehensible that a situation between two private companies, whose cooperation is regulated by a contract that they have both signed, is presented to the public as a political scandal,” Aerodium said in the statement.