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Jamaica Gleaner - - FINANCIAL GLEANER - STEVEN JACK­SON Se­nior Busi­ness Reporter steven.jack­son@glean­erjm.com

RESTART­ING THE Nor­man Manley In­ter­na­tional Air­port, NMIA, af­ter a ma­jor ac­ci­dent, or the threat of ri­val air­ports pinch­ing away pas­sen­gers are con­cerns that the Air­ports Au­thor­ity of Ja­maica, AAJ, wants quan­ti­fied and stud­ied prior to di­vest­ment.

The au­thor­ity is look­ing for a con­sul­tant to out­line the growth prospects and the risk as­so­ci­ated with the air­port, and from there, de­vis­ing plans of ac­tion for NMIA’s re­cov­ery from a va­ri­ety of risk sce­nar­ios.

The Busi­ness Con­ti­nu­ity Man­age­ment Study, ex­pected to be con­ducted be­tween Jan­uary and July 2019, forms part of the pri­vati­sa­tion plan for the air­port. Un­til then, the AAJ re­mains its op­er­a­tor through NMIA Air­ports Lim­ited.

“The con­ti­nu­ity re­port has a num­ber of uses for us,” Al­fred McDon­ald, AAJ di­rec­tor of com­mer­cial plan­ning and de­vel­op­ment, told the Fi­nan­cial Gleaner in an in­ter­view on Mon­day.

“It will as­sess the risk of the air­port and also ac­cess its growth prospects. At the AAJ/NMIA, we want to en­sure that risk is mit­i­gated, whether the air­port is di­vested or not,” he said.

The re­port will also serve as a guide to the pri­vate op­er­a­tor that wins the con­ces­sion to op­er­ate the air­port, and it will be­come a tool for the AAJ as well in mon­i­tor­ing the per­for­mance of the con­ces­sion­aire, McDon­ald noted. The con­ces­sion­aire is ex­pected to own and op­er­ate NMIA for about 30 years.

Eight groups are vy­ing for the air­port on which bids are due at the end of June.

On Mon­day, McDon­ald in­di­cated that cur­rent data on rev­enues and other par­tic­u­lars on NMIA would re­main undis­closed un­til pre­sented to Par­lia­ment.

Data promised on pas­sen­ger ar­rivals and de­par­tures for 2017 was not forth­com­ing, but pas­sen­ger move­ments in 2016 to­talled 1.59 mil­lion, ac­cord­ing to in­for­ma­tion on NMIA’s web­site.

The cur­rent ar­range­ment with NMIA Air­ports Lim­ited is also struc­tured as a 30-year con­ces­sion agree­ment signed in 2003. The AAJ has in­vested some US$136 mil­lion in its 20-year Mas­ter Plan, to up­grade the ex­ist­ing in­fra­struc­ture, ac­cord­ing to the ex­pres­sion of in­ter­est on the study.

The de­liv­er­ables of the con­ti­nu­ity study in­clude a com­pre­hen­sive re­view of air ser­vices and to pro­vide rec­om­men­da­tions that will sup­port the de­vel­op­ment of the NMIA in pas­sen­ger and cargo ser­vices.

In re­la­tion to the con­ti­nu­ity study, the au­thor­ity wants the re­port to de­ter­mine NMIA’s com­pet­i­tive­ness and po­ten­tial to grow air ser­vices; rec­om­mend new routes, in­clud­ing target mar­kets and air car­ri­ers; de­ter­mine air cargo po­ten­tial and pos­si­bil­i­ties for NMIA, in­clud­ing target mar­kets, prod­ucts and air car­ri­ers; de­ter­mine the mar­ket po­ten­tial for NMIA as a hub for pas­sen­ger and cargo traf­fic; and rec­om­mend mar­ket and air car­ri­ers and pro­vide pre­lim­i­nary rec­om­men­da­tion on how NMIA can at­tract tran­sit flights for tech­ni­cal stops.

The con­sul­tant must also iden­tify ways to cre­ate a risk regis­ter rank­ing in or­der of most se­vere to least se­vere, meth­ods for NMIA to cre­ate part­ner­ships to pro­tect its in­ter­est, and de­vise pro­ce­dures aimed at manag­ing “all crit­i­cal ser­vices” in emer­gency events.

Costs as­so­ci­ated with the di­vest­ment of NMIA are backed by a loan to the AAJ from the European In­vest­ment Bank, and a “sub­sidy” for tech­ni­cal as­sis­tance and stud­ies re­lated to the planned pri­vati­sa­tion of the air­port, ac­cord­ing to the invitation for bids.

The Nor­man Manley In­ter­na­tional Air­port in Kingston.

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