The Grantley Adams International Airport. (Photo: GAIA)

The Grantley Adams International Airport (GAIA), Public-Private Partnership concession is on track and will have its first virtual bidders’ consultation during the last week of July. The commencement of the concession is not expected before mid-2022.

Minister of Tourism and International Transport, Senator Lisa Cummins gave an update on the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) proposal being undertaken for the GAIA, during a recently held ‘State of The Industry’ media briefing.

“The Grantley Adams International Airport is not being sold, but it is being leased to a private service provider who will bring the expertise in airport development, including infrastructure expansion over the lifecycle of the lease.

“We have appointed a college of negotiators now to lead the Grantley Adams International Airport, through the process of engaging with the IFC, so we have created double redundancy. The International Financial Corporation (IFC) of the World Bank, who is the advisor on the PPP, they’ve done PPP’s all around the world, they have been doing capacity building [and] also, for the Grantley Adams International Airport,” Minister Cummins explained.

She disclosed that the college of negotiators incorporates representatives who came from the Caribbean Development Bank, who are professionals and specialists in PPP, as well as an international law firm. Three meetings of the college of negotiators were held last week.

Despite GAIA Inc. experiencing a significant decline in its revenue base over the past 15 months, Minister Cummins pointed out that the “95 per cent reduction in its revenue base for a period of one year, doesn’t mean that we’re not projecting forward…, the airport is still highly valuable as an asset, it is still highly attractive.”

The way forward in the PPP includes: Virtual engagement with bidders in the last week of July 2020; Finalisation of the RFP for approval by Cabinet; Publication of RFP to bidders; Hosting of in person Bidders Conference; Submission of Final Bids; and Acceptance of the Successful Bid by the Government of Barbados on recommendation by IFC.

(Stock Photo)

Whilst on the topic of the GAIA, the Minister revealed that Government had approved the investment in a Barbados aviation sector strategy.

“We are the Ministry of Tourism and International Transport and what that means is that the aviation industry, a $30 billion industry, that has the potential to create a growth trajectory for Barbados, has to be on our agenda. And so we have contracted with a consulting entity, and they are going to be working [and] providing advisory services to Barbados’ aviation.

“We’ve created an aviation team that allows us to look at flights, to look at repair and maintenance services, to look at private aircraft services, to invite private charters, [and] we are even engaging in an initiative at this point, where we are looking at incorporating Bitcoin technology, specifically in the internationally private international aviation sector, and that is something that we will be exploring in the interim,” Senator Cummins revealed.

She added that the ministry had to look at broader growth trajectories for the industry, and that was the basis for creating the aviation strategy for Barbados. 

“By the time we are finished, the airport itself will anchor a much broader aviation strategy that allows for Barbados to develop new growth industries, new employment opportunities, and new investment opportunities.” 

sheena.forde-craigg@barbados.gov.bb

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