Aerostar Wins Bid to Operate Puerto Rico’s Luis Muñoz Marin Airport

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Above: Terminal A at Luis Munoz Marin airport (Photo: OG)

By the Caribbean Journal staff

Aerostar Airport Holdings has won a public bidding process to become the private operator of Puerto Rico’s Luis Muñoz Marin airport.

The bid was approved by Puerto Rico’s Public-Private Partnership committee.

The company is 50 percent-owned by Mexico’s Grupo Aeroportuario del Sureste and Highstar Capital IV.

Aerostar will enter into a 40-year lease to operate the airport. As part of its bid, the company will make an upfront payment of $615 million to the Puerto Rico Ports Authority, funded by a combination of financing and equity contributions from Highstar and ASUR.

The airport recently saw the opening of a new JetBlue terminal.

“Today, Puerto Ricans are one step closer to having the international airport that we deserve — more modern, more comfortable, and one with better serves, which creates more jobs and brings more tourists to the island,” said Puerto Rico Governor Luis Fortuño. “This is great news for all residents of Puerto Rico.”

The bidding process began in 2009.

The lease will not be closed until several conditions are met, including the award of a Part 139 operating certificate by the Federal Aviation Authority.

ASUR is also evaluating the accounting treatment of its Aerostar investment.

Aerostar’s plan would include a $1.4 billion capital investment programme in the airport, which handles more than 8.5 million passengers each year.

Puerto Rico’s government estimates that it would bring in $2.6 billion in revenues from the transaction over the term of the lease.

ASUR currently operates Cancun Airport and eight other airports in southeast Mexico.