NMIA will be the pearl in GAP's portfolio — Montague

BY ABBION ROBINSON
Business reporter
robinsona@jamaicaobserver.com

Thursday, October 17, 2019

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Minister of Transport and Mining, Robert Montague has challenged Grupo Aeroportuario del Pacifico (GAP) as the new management of the Norman Manley International Airport (NMIA), to double the airport's 2018 air traffic figure of 1.7 million passengers, in a year.
“GAP manages 12 airports in Mexico, one in Montego Bay and Kingston will make the fourteenth airport in your portfolio. This is going to be the pearl in your portfolio, because the numbers are low and therefore once you market aggressively, Kingston will surpass Montego Bay in time, regardless of what others may think,” the minister declared at the official handover ceremony at the NMIA on Wednesday (October 16).
Last October, the Airports Authority of Jamaica (AAJ), which owned the NMIA, signed a US $2.2 billion 25-year concession agreement with the Mexican firm and its local subsidiary, PAC Kingston Airport Limited (PACKAL), for the operation of the facility. Under the agreement, GAP will be responsible for improving the airport's land and air operational efficiency, financing and completing a modernisation programme.
The minister added that while GAP is managing and maintaining the facility, AAJ and the Government will ensure that the standards of air traffic and border control are kept.
Chief executive officer (CEO) of GAP, Raul Revuelta, disclosed to the Jamaica Observer that the Government will receive 62 per cent of the airport's total revenues, with most of the revenues stemming from airlines and commercial activities.
He added that for the next five years, US $112 million will be invested in the development of the airport's infrastructure which includes extensive outsourcing of services, such as motor vehicle fleet maintenance, closed-circuit TV monitoring, janitorial, and landscaping services.
“The first change you're going to see is related to the security check point, and then changes in the commercial area, but the biggest part of the investment will be the expansion of the runways. That has already begun, and we have a Chinese company helping us to build that expansion. We will also be refurbishing the terminals over the next 12 months,” Ruvuelta told the Caribbean Business Report.
However, with the handover official, President and CEO Audley Deidrick emphasised that the airport was not sold.
“Listening to the feedback from the public regarding the privatisation of the [Sangster International Airport] and now NMIA, we still have the ongoing task to debunk the commonly held view or myth, if you will, that SIA was sold and we have now sold NMIA,” he said.
“We will work more to enlighten the public that [public-private partnerships] are not sell-outs, but that they represent the most effective way to develop infrastructure and operate them efficiently and profitably,” he continued.
Following the signing of change of management in October of this year, based on GAP's operational model, NMIA's entire staff of 300 was made redundant; but approximately one third of the staff complement has been reemployed by GAP.
According to Minister Montague, the AAJ undertook a change management program to engage members of staff, which included workshops on resume writing, financial management and entrepreneurial skills.


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