The Airports Authority of Trinidad and Tobago (AATT) has already spent approximately $90 million on infrastructure for its Piarco AeroPark and is now awaiting the private sector to come forward and bid for an opportunity to make the proposed “aviation city” a reality.
Speaking with reporters at the AATT Administration Centre, Piarco yesterday, AATT marketing manager Emmanuel Baah said the infrastructure work started in 2011 for what is to be a public/private partnership had already been completed.
“We did the drainage, we did the roads...so that type of infrastructure work...to make it a good environment for people to come in. Infrastructure work is estimated at $90 million. We are looking at an airport model in which land will be offered on a greenfield basis so the actual level of investment depends on the plans of the individual companies. So for someone setting up a warehouse, their cost of construction will be different to someone setting up an office complex or someone who wants to develop a mall so the cost to Airports Authority will not really reflect the entire cost.”
Baah said AATT was working to get request proposals out this month for the self-contained aviation city and will be advertising on the AATT’s website and international websites.
“After that we have allocated some months to do the evaluation process. We will be doing it on a phased basis so we will be inviting proposals for different areas at different times and we will be evaluating different batches of proposals at different times,” he said.
The AATT wants to start signing the first set of leases early next year and based on the complexity of what is proposed, they expect to start seeing some construction next year, Baah said. The first phase of the Park is 167 acres but there are other phases planned afterward.
AATT acting general manager Hayden Newton said the establishment of the business park was not an easy feat but they were looking at attracting investors towards developing international trade facilities, a four-star hotel and conference centre, retail shopping facilities, restaurants, entertainment facilities, offices, warehousing, manufacturing and aircraft maintenance.
“The airport city is a new trend in aviation that integrates an urban structure into the airport environment and allows for the expansion of opportunities to earn non-aeronautical revenue. The Piarco AeroPark will be the first of its kind in the region with its closest competitor being Panama to the West and Miami to the North,” he added.