NMIA divestment under way

NMIA divestment under way

Friday, July 18, 2014

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Government on Wednesday started accepting expressions of interest for the divestment of the state owned Norman Manley International Airport (NMIA).

Stakeholders will also hear pitches from Government at conferences planned later this month in London and Kingston.

"The Government of Jamaica through the Ministry of transport Works and Housing has initiated the process of identifying a private sector operator with proven experience in the aviation sector to operate, finance, develop and maintain the NMIA under a long term concession agreement," according to a public notice in the papers bearing the crest of the Transport ministry.

Government will accept proposals up to month end, then later in the year launch an international competitive tender, the notice stated.

The lending arm of the World Bank the IFC will act as the lead advisor in the structuring and implementation of the project. The Development Bank of Jamaica, Government's Privatisation Agency and the PPP Unit will act as co-advisors.

Government ultimately expects to divest the airport by 2015 in a public private partnership. Transport minister Dr Omar Davies in his contribution to the 2014/2015 Budget Debate in May this year explained that after divestment the property of the NMIA will continue to be in the ownership of the Government of Jamaica.

NMIA, the second largest of three international airports in Jamaica operates a 2,716 metres-long runway, "capable of handling B747 and B777 aircraft" according to current operators the Airport Authority of Jamaica (AAJ).

"The development of the NMIA is a key part of the Government of Jamaica's broader strategic development plan to establish Kingston as a regional business hub and Jamaica as a logistics hub," stated the AAJ on its website.

The island's largest, Sangster International Airport was divested in 2003 in a 30-year lease to a consortium led by Spanish conglomerate, Abertis, which invested over US$100 million in the facility since acquisition.

Last year, Abertis sold a series of European and US based airports under its global airports division, according to financials.

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