Thirteen companies have been given the go-ahead to bid on a public-private partnership involving Grantley Adams International Airport (GAIA) in Barbados.

The companies, all with substantial experience in the aviation sector, will bid on the operation, financing, development and maintenance of airport, GAIA chairman Vic Fernandes announced. It is hoped that the process will identify an experienced airport operator to run GAIA for up to 30 years.

The 13 prequalified bidders are: Companhia de Participações em Concessões; Corporación Aeroportuaria del Este; Corporación Americas Airports; DAA International; EGIS Projects in consortium with Bouygues Bâtiment International, Jamaica Producers Group Limited, and Eppley Limited; Ferrovial Airports International; Groupe ADP; Grupo Aeroportuario del Centro Norte (GACN); Grupo Aeroportuario del Pacífico; Incheon International Airport Corporation; Schiphol Nederland; Vantage Airport Group; and VINCI Airports in consortium with Williams Industries.

The prequalified bidders will receive the request for proposals (RFP) and bidding documents for the GAIA Public-Private Partnership (PPP) project when the bid process is launched later this year.

The invitation for prequalification was publicly launched on February 3 as the first phase of the international competitive bidding process for the further development of GAIA through a PPP and followed a due diligence process. These prequalification applications were evaluated by an 11-member bid commission consisting of three sub-committees: technical, legal and financial. The International Finance Corporation, a private sector arm of the World Bank which is advising GAIA and the Barbados Government on the structuring and implementation of the PPP, shadowed the evaluation of the applications for prequalification and supported and advised GAIA and the bid commission during this process.

The government and people of Barbados will retain ownership of the infrastructure, while the private partner would be granted a concession or lease to expand, operate and maintain the facility until the end of the contractual period.

The tender is slated to be expected to be awarded in the first half of next year with the signing of the concession agreement to take place within a month after that.