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Why Redevelop HIA?
Hewanorra International Airport (HIA) is a major component of Saint Lucia’s tourism product, serving as the gateway to the international long-haul airlines that connect the island to the United States (US), Canada, Europe and the rest of the world. HIA facilitates approximately 80% of all air traffic into the island. Annually, the airport handles more than 15,000 domestic and international aircraft movements and in 2014 it recorded 614,754 arriving and departing passengers in addition to 125,010 in-transit passengers. By 2017, passenger traffic is forecasted to exceed 800,000 passengers.
Hewanorra was originally a US Military Base. It was handed over to Saint Lucia in the 1950s and underwent a major rebuilding programme in 1975 to provide international arrivals and departure facilities. A number of expansions and improvements have been undertaken since then, and currently the airport is operating at maximum capacity, handling the large majority of international passenger traffic to and from the island.
The Saint Lucia Air and Sea Ports Authority (SLASPA) is planning to redevelop the airport, but a significant investment is required to improve the existing infrastructure. The redevelopment is expected to address capacity constraints and improve the airport’s competitiveness, service quality standards, and operational efficiency, as well as support sustainable growth and development, particularly in the tourism industry.
After a thorough due diligence process, SLASPA, working with the International Finance Corporation (IFC), has concluded that a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Concession Agreement is the best model to redevelop HIA. This model, which has been successfully implemented regionally at Sangster International Airport in Jamaica and at Lynden Pindling International Airport in the Bahamas, would allow SLASPA to retain ownership and regulatory control, while giving the private concessionaire responsibility for airport financing, construction and operation. Implementation of this model would leverage private sector investment and expertise to drive improvements in operational efficiencies and level of service. In addition, such a partnership agreement would optimize the cost of operations.