Deal Signed to Give Barbados’ Sole Airport Major Renovation

The Grantley Adams International Airport is in line for major refurbishment.

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Thursday May 23, 2019 – The Government has signed a deal with the investment and advisory arm of the World Bank Group that will see the country’s only airport being completely renovated and refurbished.

The Financial Advisory Services Agreement was yesterday inked with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) to roll out the private/public partnership (PPP) agreement that will lead to a 27 000 square-metre improvement to the Grantley Adams International Airport (GAIA), and the establishment of numerous amenities.

Minister of Tourism and International Transport Kerrie Symmonds said that under the PPP, the concession would be 25 to 30 years, and it should include the expansion of the terminal building, the addition of five jet bridges and the modernization of the airport systems and infrastructure.

He explained that the new concessionaire would have an opportunity to look at the master plan of the airport and make an input into what is treated as priority.   

“The airport has been in a state of disrepair for such a long period of time that everything seems to be a priority at this point….The airport has a tremendous amount of potential to generate non-aeronautical revenue, those things that have nothing to do with the landing of the aircraft,” Symmonds said.

Prime Minister Mia Mottley said after much discussion with the IFC, it was agreed that the Government would retain ownership of the airport.

“We will eventually do a divestment partially of some limited shares to the National Insurance Scheme and the workers of the airport. But without prejudice to that…we would work to do a long-term concession on the airport because it is urgently in need of major capital refurbishment,” she said.

Regional Vice President of IFC for Latin America & Caribbean, Europe and Central Asia, Georgina Baker, and Chairman of GAIA, Vic Fernandes, shake hands following the signing of the Financial Advisory Service Agreement. (Photo Credit: C.Pitt/BGIS)

Regional Vice President of IFC for Latin America & Caribbean, Europe and Central Asia, Georgina Baker, who signed the deal with Chairman of GAIA, Vic Fernandes, said that through the PPP, the private sector would be responsible for undertaking the required capital works, financing, operations and maintenance of the airport.

“The signing of the Financial Advisory Service Agreement will allow IFC and the Grantley Adams International Airport Incorporated to begin work, beginning with diagnostic work and transaction structure design for GAIA, and will include technical, legal, financial and environmental and social due diligence,” she said.

“Once that phase is completed, the teams will focus on the development and finalization of bidding documents, the competitive bidding process and the contract awarded to the winning bidder.”

Baker added that the Prime Minister had asked for the work to be concluded within the year, and said that even though it was an aggressive timeline, it was one they were committed to achieving.

Meantime, Prime Minister Mottley indicated that her Government is working towards creating a Civil Aviation Authority.

She said legislation to make that a reality was being drafted, and expressed hope that the Bill would be taken to Parliament by September or October.