Palmerola requires US$166mn, government to negotiate with InterAirports

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Honduran state would have to invest 2.18bn lempiras (US$166mn) to make former US military base Palmerola, in Comayagua department, suitable to be the site of the country's main international airport, concessions and licenses regulator César Cáceres told paper Tiempo.

However, the government would first have to negotiate with airport operator InterAirports, which has administered the country's eight international terminals since 2000.

The InterAirports concession contract stipulates it has exclusive rights to operate as concessionaire of all the country's airports.

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If the firm decides not to use its exclusivity rights, the state would then be free to launch an international tender to hire another company to habilitate Palmerola, Cáceres said

Whichever way, the initial phase would involve repairing the roads leading to the facility for 570mn lempiras, the concessions regulator added.

The government made a commitment to habilitate the Palmerola base in a period of two years following a May 30 accident at former Toncontín international airport, located in the metropolitan area of capital Tegucigalpa.

As a result of the accident, which left five dead, the government partially closed down Toncontín and decided to relocate the country's main international airport to Palmerola.