By Kevin Rozario (London, United Kingdom)
The top air gateway into the Caribbean island of Barbados – and into the wider Eastern Caribbean area – is a strategic prize that more than a dozen international airport operators and investors are expected to compete for in the coming months.
Following the decision by the Barbadian government to outsource the operation and management of Grantley Adams International Airport (BGI) via a 30-year private-public partnership (PPP), some 14 companies and/or consortia have expressed their interest. A tender process is scheduled for this spring, with the selection of a preferred proponent expected in the third quarter of this year. The plan is to have the new operator in place by early 2021 (see panel below for concession timeline).
The government is seeking a concession partner that can inject US$200 million into the project; about US$50 million in the initial stage and another US$150 million over the lifetime of the concession which is due to run until 2051.
International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, is providing the Barbadian government – which owns 100% of BGI through private company Grantley Adams International Airport Inc – advisory services for the transaction. The final decision in the competitive tender process will be based on the evaluation of proposals by GAIA Inc and the government of Barbados with support from the IFC.