French group aims to create regional airport hub in Santiago

Monday, October 13, 2014

A French consortium bidding in Santiago's international airport tender aims to create a regional hub in the Chilean capital, La Tercera newspaper reported.

The Nuevo Pudahuel consortium, which includes Aéroports de Paris and Vinci Airports, is one of 13 groups that have submitted bids in the US$635mn tender to operate and expand Arturo Merino Benítez airport.

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"Santiago will be a regional hub... It's an access door to Latin America from Europe, the United States and Asia in the future. We can make Santiago play a key role once the project in finalized," Aéroports de París COO Patrick Jeantet was quoted as saying.

He added the company would step up safety and tighten coordination between airlines, the airport operator and authorities.

The tender is the first big infrastructure project that will be awarded by President Michelle Bachelet's administration.

Technical and economic proposals are due on November 18, with bids to be reviewed on December 18. The concession will be awarded in the first quarter of 2015 and the winner would take over the airport's operations once the current concession ends on September 30 next year.

The project involves the construction of a 200,000m2 terminal, with two wings exclusively for international flights and another two alternating between international and domestic flights.

The expanded airport is designed to handle 29mn passengers by 2030 and 50mn by 2045.

Santiago's passenger traffic grew 8% last year to a record 15.3mn passengers, according to BNamericas data.