Joel Santos: “Not renegotiating contract with Aerodom would damage tourism”

The Minister of the Presidency, Joel Santos, assured that if the concession contract of Aeropuertos Dominicanos Siglo XXI (Aerodom) with VINCI Airports had not been renegotiated, there was a risk of overflowing the capacity of the International Airport of the Americas (AILA) before the end of the term of the current contract (2030), which would cause serious damage to tourism and the Dominican economy as a whole.

The official said that if the extension of the contract was not made, the criticism would be why the deterioration of airport services in the country was allowed, according to Hoy.

He said that the renegotiation of the concession of the AILA airports in Boca Chica; Joaquín Balaguer, in La Isabela; Gregorio Luperón, in Puerto Plata; María Montez, in Barahona and Juan Bosch and Arroyo Barril, in Samaná, takes place in a scenario in which there are two important aspects for the Dominican Republic, which are economic growth of an average of 5.2% and the arrival of tourists, also increasing at a rate above 5% in the last few years. He said that this is in addition to another variable, and that is the increase in the arrival of remittances.

He added that these aspects bring pressure to the country in terms of passenger traffic (tourists and Dominicans living abroad).

The also former president of Asonahores said that the Government hired an expert firm in airports and air traffic management to make a study on the main variables of a negotiation and an economic analysis of the traffic. The report showed that Aerodom could reach over 8 million passengers between 2027 and 2028. However, those 6 terminals only have capacity for 6.5 million passengers.

He said that this means that additional investments are required to maintain good services, which implies certain conditions, taking into account that airport concessions are made between 30 to 50 years to ensure return and profitability.

Santos indicated that in this sense there were two options, to cancel the contract with Vinci Airports, which would imply paying an indemnity that could lead to an arbitration or a negotiation that would allow to make the necessary investments, improve the quality of the services, and better benefits for the Dominican State. He said that it is important to clarify that this renegotiation had been in process for a year, with the objective of achieving the best results for the DR.

He specified that the renegotiation represents a benefit for the DR of between US$1,905 and US$2,155 million. Of this amount, the concessionaire will advance the country US$775 million over a six-month period as an initial payment for the right to operate for the extended term of the concession to 2060.

In addition, VINCI Airports will have to invest US$830 million for improvements in the six airports under concession, including the AILA, and other variable contributions estimated at between US$300 and US$550 million.

Immediately, the concessionaire will invest US$16 million to improve the terminal within 12 to 18 months. The design of a new terminal to be built at the AILA will begin in 2025 with an investment of US$250 million, to add a capacity of 4 million passengers per year.

Also, for the first time, the State will receive a variable remuneration for passenger traffic starting in 2030.

Source: Arecoa.com

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