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The tender process for Colombia's El Dorado II airport will begin before President Juan Manuel Santos leaves office in August 2018, according to deputy transport infrastructure minister Dimitri Zaninovich.
The US$1bn initiative would start out with one terminal and just one runway, although in the long term it is expected that the airport will expand to have three runways.
"These types of projects have one year of pre-construction, so it would be difficult to begin construction works during this government, but we would be able to leave [the tender process] ready," Zaninovich said in comments to news agency EFE, cited by local daily El Tiempo.
The official added that he expected the project to be carried under a public-private partnership (PPP) model and did not rule out the participation of Spanish companies.
"The experience in the fourth generation [4G] highways, in which consortiums were created with Spanish companies was very positive," said Dimitri Zaninovich, pointing out that these consortiums involved European entities "with large financial capacities and knowledge" partnering Colombian companies.
The El Dorado II international airport would be located alongside the highway connecting the municipalities of Madrid and Facatativá to the west of Bogotá. It will cover an area of approximately 1,350ha.
COLOMBIA'S AIRPORT AMBITIONS
Colombia's infrastructure agency ANI has stated that the government plans to invest 1.6tn pesos (US$545mn) in modernizing the country's airports in 2018-20, after having spent 5.1tn pesos (US$1.7bn) since 2011.
The ANI is also leading efforts to renovate the 16 major airports in the country and is also considering offering another six under concessions, as well as building new airports in Bogotá and Cartagena. For this the investment would be 2.4tn pesos.
The initiatives also include the US$460mn modernization of the existing El Dorado airport in Bogotá and 540bn pesos for Gustavo Rojas Pinilla on the island of San Andrés. Other airports currently under being upgraded include Simón Bolívar terminal in Santa Marta (US$36mn) and El Caraño airport in Quibdó (US$60mn).
Meanwhile, the ANI and multistakeholder group Aeropuerto de Cartagena carried out community consultation for the initiative to expand Rafael Núñez airport in the northern city, a project with a projected investment of 600bn pesos and which is expected to be completed by 2020.
All of these expansions are aimed at the increasing the passenger capacity of the airports.
Last year, passenger traffic in Colombia's airports reached 35.8mn passengers, up 4.8% from 2015; while in the first quarter of 2017, traffic increased 2% to 8.8mn passengers, according to regulator Aerocivil, thanks to lower ticket prices in the domestic market.