Sun | Mar 29, 2020

GAP to spend US$213 million to upgrade Norman Manley, Sangster airports

Published:Friday | December 20, 2019 | 12:17 AM

The Mexican-owned Pacific Airport Group, GAP, which operates Jamaica’s two international airports in Kingston and Montego Bay, plans to spend US$213 million over the next five years to upgrade the runways and buildings, but it will come with passengers paying more to use the facilities, according to its latest filings.

Over five years, some US$111.7 million will be spent on capital projects at the Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay, and US$101.4 million at the Norman Manley International Airport in Kingston.

Montego Bay will account for most of its capital expenditure over the first three years, while Kingston will see the bulk of its funds utilised at the back end of the five years, based on recently released data from GAP.

The capital spend at US$213 million comprises US$58 million worth of investments in 2020, US$63 million in 2021, US$56.8 million in 2022, US$22 million in 2023, and US$13.4 million in 2024. The description of the projects remained undisclosed, but the airports plan to extend passenger terminals and runways.

The increased capital spend will come with a concurrent rise in passenger fees, or tariffs, which are levied when travelling through the airports. The Kingston airport, however, will see the highest rise over the five-year period from US$22.47 per passenger in 2020 to US$29.41 in 2024. In Montego Bay, the passenger tariff will increase from US$15.71 to US$16.47. GAP released data on its capital expenditure in conjunction with outlining its tariff rise over the period.

“The tariffs are based on projections for traffic, operating costs and capital investments included in the master development programme, in accordance with the parameters established in the concession agreements,” stated GAP in its filing in mid-December.

In a previous release, GAP stated that its new tariff regime would be implemented in January 2020 and “will allow improvements in operating results and recovery of committed investments with the Government of Jamaica”. GAP has so far not responded to requests for comment.

GAP, which operates airports in Mexico and Jamaica, acquired the Norman Manley International Airport concession in October 2018, three years after it acquired the rights to operate the Sangster International Airport.

GAP received approvals for its master development programmes and passenger tariffs increases from the Jamaica Civil Aviation Authority (JCAA).

When contacted, Nari Williams-Singh, head of the JCAA, redirected the Financial Gleaner to the Airports Authority of Jamaica, but that agency has so far not responded to requests for comment.

steven.jackson@gleanerjm.com