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NEWS Last modified on August 23, 2011

Consortium wins contract to build Brazil's first privatised airport

The Inframérica consortium has won the contract to build and operate Brazil’s São Gonçalo do Amarante international airport.

The Inframérica consortium has won the contract to build and operate Brazil’s São Gonçalo do Amarante international airport.

The consortium won the airport concession at an auction on Monday, after entering a bid of $106 million (170 million reais), according to Brazil’s civil aviation agency, Agência Nacional de Aviação Civil (Anac).

Terms of the contract state that the group has three years to build the airport and will then operate it for the next 25 years.

The Inframérica consortium is made up of Brazil's Grupo Engevix and Argentina's Corporación America. Engevix includes the construction arm Engevix Engenharia and three other companies.

Anac added that the group plans to invest around $404 million in the airport throughout the contract period.

Despite the withdrawal of Grupo Aeroportuario del Pacífico (GAP) from the bidding process last week, the auction still attracted four bidders in total.

The unsuccessful groups included ATP-Contratec, Aeroportos Brasil and Aeroleste Potiguar.

According to Engevix president José Antunes Sobrinho, Inframérica plans to have the airport ready in time for the 2014 Football World Cup.

Speaking to local newspaper Valor Econômico, Sobrinho said: "Commercially, it's in our interest that the airport is ready in time for the Cup, so we can take advantage of peak demand at the terminal."

Mexican airport operator, Grupo Aeroportuario del Pacífico (GAP), pulled out of the running to build and operate the airport last week because the “regulatory system which the government has chosen for the tender” made the project “financially unviable”.

The Sao Gonçalo do Amarante project calls for the construction of an international airport in Rio Grande do Norte state capital Natal.

The 28-year concession contract entails finishing construction of the airport –including completing the runways, take-off and taxiing lanes – and will also include building new terminals and operating and maintaining the airport.

On completion, it will be the largest airport terminal in Latin America and the seventh largest in the world estimated to handle around 3mppa in its first few years of operation, with traffic increasing to 11 million passengers by the end of the concession period.

It will also be the first gateway in Brazil to be privatized.

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