The request for proposals process for the redevelopment and management of family island airports has been put on pause for now, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Tourism, Aviation and Investments Chester Cooper said yesterday.
The Minnis administration began the process of obtaining a company to upgrade nine family island airports through a public-private process. Up to the end of September, the Department of Civil Aviation had intended to issue request for proposals prequalification (RFPQ) before the planned start of the bidding process in November.
Cooper said a deeper analysis of the plan is needed to ensure it lines up with the Davis administration’s public-private partnership (PPP) policies.
“We have a briefing this week. It was intended that initiative would have proceeded at the end of September. We’ve put a hold on it at the moment. We want to ensure that what has been done is consistent with the policies of our government. Once we have completed our review you will hear more about it,” he said before yesterday’s weekly Cabinet meeting.
“We are fully committed to developing the major airports in our country. We recognize that we don’t have the financial headroom to do it ourselves, in principle we are on board with public-private partnerships, but we just need to look at the model to determine that it’s in line with the way we would wish to do it. We haven’t had a chance to do that extensive analysis yet, but we’re going to be doing that through the course of this week.”
The Minnis administration was in the process of finding companies to enter into a 30-year PPP with the government to upgrade and manage the Grand Bahama International Airport (GBIA), the Leonard Thompson International Airport in Abaco, Exuma International Airport, North Eleuthera Airport, Deadman’s Cay Airport in Long Island, Great Harbour Cay Airport and San Salvador Airport.
The Department of Aviation had split the projects in two bundles, one estimated to cost $200 million for GBIA, which was severely damaged during Hurricane Dorian in 2019; and the second bundle for the other Family island airports.
Last month, Director of Aviation Algernon Cargill said 180 entities and individuals from almost every continent expressed interest in the proposal.