Infraero redefines its role after airport privatisations

Madrid
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Brazil's state-owned airport operator Infraero is in the process of redefining its role into becoming an airport services company as well as a specialised administrator of regional airports, following several deals to privatise the country's major airports.

Infraero operated as a de-facto monopolist until the airports of Brasilia, Sao Paulo Guarulhos, Campinas, Rio de Janeiro Galeao and Belo Horizonte Confins were privatised following a concession tender process in two phases, which concluded last month.

An Infraero spokesman explains that the company, which will remain state owned, will create in 2014 "Infraero Servicos", a major project to position the company as a general airport services and operator company, which will provide "comprehensive solutions ranging from airport specific equipment rental to operators, to airport engineering services, to the complete operation of airports".

"We are looking for international partners that want to become a strategic shareholder and technological partner [of the new Infraero subsidiary]," says the spokesman, adding that several airport operators and service companies have already expressed their interest.

The "new Infraero" will develop business in three areas: As a minority shareholder in the concessions of the already privatised big airports, as the administrator and developer of regional airports and as a third party service provider.

As the Brazilian government has declared the development of a network of regional airports throughout the vast country a national priority, Infraero will be in charge of administrating the airport investments funded by the National Civil Aviation Fund. According to an Infraero source, the fund itself will function with the yearly concession fees paid by the operators of the five privatised airports, as well as some aeronautical fees.

"This will allow Infraero to administrate investments of over R$ 2.2 billion ($1 billion) next year, although the actual figure will be higher as the government is contributing with some additional money to speed up the development of regional airports," he explains, adding that the money raised from the airport concessions will remain in the industry and will be used to "improve the [airport] system as a whole".