Companies or consortia with experience in the airport, financial and construction sectors now have the opportunity to express an interest in the operation and development of the Grantley Adams International Airport (GAIA). An Invitation for Prequalification will be launched on Monday, February 3.
The Invitation for Prequalification is the first phase of the international competitive bidding process for the operation, financing, development and maintenance of GAIA through a Public-Private Partnership (PPP).
A 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.
The pre-qualification process is being launched by GAIA Inc. Its Acting Chief Executive Officer, Terry Layne, stated: “We’re excited to be at this stage after going through a rigorous due diligence process last year. This has laid a strong foundation upon which we’ll build in finding the most suitable private airport operator for GAIA.”
Mr. Layne emphasized that the entire process to select a qualified private operator would be “open, transparent, and competitive in accordance with the laws of Barbados and international best practices”.
The Barbados Government, in collaboration with GAIA Inc., is 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 expansion.
Mr. Layne explained: “Across the world, governments are turning more to the private sector as an alternative, additional source of financing to narrow the funding gap and alleviate constraints on public resources.”
Speaking to the benefits of the PPP, Mr. Layne noted: “With 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.”
Mr. Layne added: “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 and industry recommendations, and projected increased traffic.”
The CEO also emphasized that through the PPP “the Government and people of Barbados will retain ownership of the infrastructure, while 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”. 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), which has been appointed lead advisor on the structuring and implementation of the PPP. The IFC is the private sector arm of the World Bank Group and offers advisory and investment services.
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.
The tender is slated to be awarded by the last quarter of this year, with operations being fully handed over in early 2021.
Those interested in submitting a prequalification application for the project should register and download the prequalification document at https://gaia.bb/PPP/. They may also download the information memorandum, which is on the website.
The deadline for submission of prequalification applications is 3:00 p.m. Barbados time, on Monday, March 16.