Infraero Invites Bids for Development of Management Project Plans for 14 Airports

The paucity of the Brazilian Airport sector is now rising to the surface with the challenges arising due to the proximity of the World Cup and the Olympics, in 2014 and 2016, respectively. But the problem relating to the lack of investment and the need for expansion and modernization of the airports is an old one and the challenge goes beyond the events mentioned above to include the gradual growth in demand within the sector. It is expected that the 127.72 million users recorded in 2010 will have almost tripled by the year 2030, with 300 million passengers per year passing through the nation's air terminals.

The Federal Government has defined the revitalization of the sector as one of the nation's top priorities and the complexity of the subject recently led President Dilma Rousseff to send a provisional measure to the National Congress creating the Civil Aviation Secretariat, a body with equal status to a Ministry, and powers to transfer the rights for commercial management of airports into the hands of the private sector as part of a concession model. In doing so, the Federal Government hopes to stimulate its urgent expansion plans.

On May 16, the press announced that, as a step towards the achievement of its objectives, INFRAERO (the Brazilian Airports Infrastructure Company) will be starting a bidding process aimed at choosing the companies which are to be responsible for the development of the Management Plans of 14 of Brazil's most important airports. The fourteen are: Confins and Pampulha in the state of Minas Gerais; Galeão, Santos Dumont and Jacarepaguá in Rio de Janeiro state; Afonso Pena in Curitiba, Paraná state; Salgado Filho in Porto Alegre, in the state of Rio Grande do Sul; Cumbica and Congonhas, both serving the São Paulo state capital; Augusto Severo in Natal, the state capital of Rio Grande do Norte; Luís Eduardo Magalhães in Salvador, Bahia; the International Airport in Brasília, the Federal Capital; Marechal Rondon in Cuiabá, Mato Grosso; and Eduardo Gomes in Manaus, the capital city of Amazonas state. According to the published news, these Management Plans will serve as a basis for the expansion of the airports over the next 20 years.

Subsequently, on June 29, 2011, the National Civil Aviation Agency – ANAC – published Administrative Ruling n°. 192, dated June 28, establishing the procedures for the invitation, authorization and approval of plans, studies, surveys or investigations which support the concessions model for the development of airport infrastructures under private initiative ("Projects"), which.

According to the Administrative Ruling the calls for Projects will be performed by ANAC itself by means of a public convocation. The Projects are to outline the scope and establish time scales for the presentation of projects.

The schedule, from the beginning of the process through until the approval of the projects by the government, is to run for seven months, meaning that the bidding for the civil construction involved in the development of the airports won't be taking place before the beginning of 2012.

"The proximity of the World Cup and Olympic Games make the redevelopment of Brazil's airports network of vital importance, but progress seems to be overly bureaucratic and slow," says Isabel Andrade, an attorney specializing in Air Transport legislation and regulation with Felsberg e Associados. "The fact that the government is only now calling for the private sector to submit concession models suggests the country is doing too little too late."

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