Brazil's aviation minister details further airport privatisation plans

Madrid
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Privatisation tenders for Rio de Janeiro's Galeao and Belo Horizonte's Confins International airports will be published in August, says the country's aviation minister Wagner Bittencourt.

Speaking during a visit to Galeao. Bittencourt says he expects that the airport will receive a R4.8 billion ($2.4 billion) investment after being transferred to a private operator, while Confins will represent a $3.3 billion investment.

Following the privatisation of Brasilia, Campinas and Sao Paulo Guarulhos airport, Brazil's president Dilma Rousseff temporarily ceased airport privatisations, saying that the outcome of the first round of privatisations were "not optimal".

The airports were previously operated by state-owned Infraero.

Bittencourt says that Brazil wants to give priority to large international airport operators during the new round of airport privatisations, while keeping Infraero as a strategic partner.

"Any qualifying airport operator can participate, except those which already control the concession of one of the other privatised Brazilian airports," Bittencourt explains, adding that "minority stakeholders in current concessions will be allowed to participate".

The proceeds of the concession fees will be used to improve Brazil's infrastructure of 270 regional airports, which according to Bittencourt, "will receive an investment of $3.7 billion". Airports in north-eastern region of Brazil will receive the lion's share of the investment.

Another measure to incentivise operations to regional airports will be the exemption from federal fees and taxes for operations to airports with traffic of less than a million passengers per year.

While domestic traffic has more than doubled in Brazil over the last decade, the number of airports served has declined by 8%, leaving a significant number of remote towns or mid-sized cities without commercial air services.