THE GOVERNMENT has admitted that it plans to privatise Aeroportos de Portugal (ANA), the national airport authority, later this year.
The news was announced by the Minister for Public Works, Transport and Communications, Mário Lino.
At the presentation of the project, the minister said that public and European Community funds for the construction of the new international airport at Ota in Alenquer near Lisbon, worth 600 million euros, were insufficient to complete the project, making it necessary for the government to sell off ANA.
“Since Ota is to be an entirely privately run operation it doesn’t make much sense for the government to retain a minority stake-holding in the company,” said a spokesman.
However, questions relating to security, taxation and regulations will remain within the hands of the National Civil Aviation Institute (INAC), which the government intends to maintain as a regulatory body over the future private airport company.
The public competitive tendering bid for ANA will be launched in the second half of the year.
Lino made it clear that ANA would be privatised giving any private entity or group a controlling share of 50 per cent or more of the capital.
The consortium BPI/Citigroup is proceeding with a financial evaluation of ANA, which manages the airports at Portela in Lisbon, Sá Carneiro Airport (Porto), Faro, Ponta Delgado, Horta, Santa Maria and Flores(Azores), as well as holding a financial share in the airports at Funchal and Macau.
Lino also explained that Portela, which will be phased out, would be taking around 16-17 million passengers a year by 2017 and that a 350 million euro investment package would have to be spent to ensure its continued viability until the new airport at Ota was ready.
The construction of the new international airport at Ota, which is due to begin activities in 2017, is to be built and part-financed through an international competitive tendering bid with the “conception, financing and operation of the new airport being the ultimate responsibility of the winner.”
At the same time, the government is also advancing with plans to build a smaller international airport in the Alentejo at Beja, which will be ready to receive international flights in 2008, once infrastructure works have been completed.
The airport will also include a construction and maintenance base for the aeronautics industry, a 2,095sqm passenger terminal, a main runway and a second runway all at a total cost of 33 million euros.
Do you have a view on this story? Email: [email protected]