Sao Paulo state shortlists airports for privatisation

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The Aviation Department of Brazil's Sao Paulo State (DAESP) has shortlisted six commercial and five executive aviation airports of the 27 airports it manages all over the state as potential candidates for privatisation.

DAESP superintendent Ricardo Volpi explains that while the executive aviation airports will be privatised with 30 year concession schemes, a public-private partnership (PPP) has been envisaged for the commercial airports.

"While the definition of the concession process is rather advanced, the design of the PPP project is still in an embryonic state," he says. "We still have to decide if the process will be handled as a package or individually, for every airport."

Despite the early planning stage, he confirms, however, the 2014 timeframe for concluding the process.

The commercial airports included initially in the PPP project are Riberao Preto, Sao Jose do Rio Preto, Presidente Prudente, Bauru, Marilia and Aracatuba. Of these six, only Riberiano Preto has a yearly traffic of more than half a million passengers (537,187 in 2012).

However, DAESP made a small profit of $1.5 million in 2012, which makes the state agency hopeful about attracting the interest of investors to the "best airports" of its network.

The executive/general aviation airports, for which DAESP is preparing a less complex concession scheme are Amarais (Campinas), Jundiai, Braganca, Paulisa, Itanhaem and Ubatuba.

Brazil is the second largest executive and general aviation market worldwide after the US. Sao Paulo state holds nearly 90% of this activity, representing one of the highest private aviation densities in the world, which is also causing capacity problems to commercial aviation activities.

By reinforcing airports open to only general aviation, Brazil hopes to improve the congestion at some city airports, such as Sao Paulo's Congonhas, where the potential banning of executive jet traffic is now under discussion to make more slots available for commercial flights and to increase competition.