Grantley Adams International Airport (Picture by Sandy Pitt)
A wide variety of stakeholders can expect to hear about investment opportunities for the proposed Public-Private Partnership (PPP) at the Grantley Adams International Airport (GAIA) when an investors’ conference takes place later this month.
Investment promotion agencies, construction companies, financiers, entrepreneurs, and service providers are among those likely to be interested in attending the Local Investors’ Conference and learning about the PPP.
The conference will be held on November 27, at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre.
A public-private partnership (PPP) is a way to fund public infrastructure projects and is structured as a contractual engagement between public and private entities for their mutual benefit. PPPs are primarily used for providing infrastructure in areas such as transportation systems, including airports and ports, energy, water and sanitation, building and equipping schools and hospitals.
At the conference, it is expected that officials from GAIA Inc. will give background on the airport and its operations, as well as the opportunities in the context of the future redevelopment of GAIA under a PPP arrangement. The International Finance Corporation (IFC), which is advising GAIA Inc. on the PPP, will give details on the proposed structure of the partnership, opportunities for local investors and expected timelines on the process.
Minister of Tourism and International Transport, Kerrie Symmonds said that the conference is another development in the process of finding a suitable and qualified partner to operate the facility.
“There will be opportunities for local and foreign investment in the airport, which will be a positive development for Barbados. The PPP is also likely to have sub-contracting opportunities for local firms in areas such as civil works, food and retail businesses, financing and insurance providers,” he added.
Symmonds said GAIA Inc. was seeking an experienced, qualified private investor to operate, expand and improve operations at the airport to assist with driving increases in revenue and further enhancing quality of service. To achieve further growth and the expected increase in passenger numbers, the airport needs to be expanded.
He said: “It makes sense for this expansion to be funded privately so that Government does not have to make a large financial outlay. Across the world, Governments are turning more to the private sector as an alternative, additional source of funding to narrow the funding gap and alleviate constraints on public resources.”
Speaking to the proposed benefits, Acting Chief Executive Officer of GAIA Inc., Terry Layne noted: “Through this partnership, the operations of the airport are set to be transformed through enhanced services, efficiencies and amenities. And we see this happening in a way beneficial to the airport, the economy and the country.
“Users of the airport can expect to see an expansion and a new layout to improve traffic flows in the terminal building to meet international, industry recommendations and projected increased traffic,” Mr. Layne added.
The airport CEO also explained that the proposed PPP for GAIA is not a sale of an asset. “The Government and People of Barbados will retain ownership of the infrastructure, but the private partner will be granted a concession or lease for a number of years to expand, operate and maintain the facility until the end of the contractual period,” he said.
In the case of the airport, the partnership is expected to last up to 30 years.
GAIA Inc. is working with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) on the PPP. The IFC is the private sector arm of the World Bank Group and offers advisory and investment services. It is advising GAIA Inc. in the process of finding the most qualified airport operator for the airport. This will take place through an open, transparent and competitive tender process.
The final say by GAIA Inc. and Government on which operator will be awarded the contract will be based on the outcome of the evaluation of bids received, against the pre-established criteria set. The tender for the new airport operator is likely to be awarded in the third quarter of 2020 with operations being fully handed over in early 2021. (PR/SAT)