ROUTES: US airport privatisations yet to gain traction - ACI-NA

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The regulatory environment in the USA continues to make it challenging for airport privatisations to happen in the country, says a senior ACI-North America official.

"Airport privatisation hasn't gained any traction," says Matt Cornelius, ACI-NA's managing director of air policy at Routes Americas in San Salvador.

Despite the US Federal Aviation Administration's airport privatisation programme which allows for up to 10 airports to be privatised, very little interest has been shown, he adds.

In 2013, San Juan Luis Munoz Marin International airport became the first major airport in the USA to be privatised, but Cornelius does not expect that to be the norm anytime soon.

"Chicago Midway took a couple of steps, but it doesn't look like that is going to happen," he says. The city of Chicago had pulled an up to 40-year concession of Chicago Midway airport in 2013, citing a lack of competition for the deal.

While Cornelius notes that there have been efforts to privatise airport terminals, he calls these "incremental".

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey has said it plans to award a contract for a new central terminal building at New York LaGuardia to a private company.

"We are again going back to the situation with defining regulations in the USA," he says. He notes that while US aviation regulations are highly regarded, especially in the area of safety, they make airport privatisation deals complicated for interested companies.