Viracopos concession holder faces fine over delays

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The Brazilian Civil Aviation Authority ANAC has opened a formal process against Aeroportos Brasil - Viracopos SA, operator of Viracopos-Campinas airport, over construction work delays.

According to the ANAC, the process has been opened as the result of "unfulfilled or delayed inauguration of the [airport] expansions defined by the concession contract for the first investment cycle".

The first phase of the airport expansion project requires an investment of R2.5 billion ($1.13 billion). It includes a new 140,000m2 terminal building with 28 jetways for up to 22 million yearly passengers and the corresponding air and landside infrastructure that must be finished in December, but should have had its first section opened in May.

The new inauguration date is now October, forcing Gol to launch its new US service from Campinas from the existing domestic terminal, using provisional immigration facilities.

According to the ANAC, the concession holder has 20 days to respond to the allegations. According to the concession contract, fines for construction work delays can reach R170 million, plus up to R1.7 million per day.

Observers familiar with the case do not believe that the maximum fine will be applied as the entire concession process was plagued by delays and ambiguities, which had to be resolved before construction began.

The 30-year concession to operate Campinas was awarded in February 2012 to Aeroportos Brasil - Viracopos SA, a consortium formed by UTC Participacoes, Triunfo Participacoes and French airport specialist Egis Airport Operation.

The master plan established the necessary measures to grow the passenger traffic volume from 9.3 million last year to a capacity of 80 million by the end of the concession period, making it Latin America's largest airport. Campinas is currently Brazil's sixth largest passenger and the country's most important cargo airport.