Jamaica News: Several employees of the Norman Manley International Airport (NMIA) will benefit from training opportunities under the 25-year concession agreement that the Government has signed with Mexican entity – Grupo Aeroportuario del Pacifico S.A.B De C.V. (GAP), for the operation of the facility.
“We will begin the process of looking for the best professionals in the coming months. Our [intention] is that these professionals will spend at least one year in Mexico [before returning] to Jamaica,” said Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of GAP, Raul Revuelta Musalem.
He was speaking at the recent signing of the agreement at the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM).
Mr. Musalem said GAP intends to expose the employees to a broad range of training programmes with a view to equipping them with the expertise to operate seamlessly under the NMIA’s new management arrangements.
“We really believe in the talent of the Jamaican people, and we believe that [those] who will [manage] the airport’s operations over the medium [to] long term will be Jamaican professionals,” he noted.
Mr. Musalem said GAP, which has over 20 years of experience in managing airports, is aware of the social importance of these facilities in spurring economic growth.
He noted that the NMIA will be central to GAP’s international business strategy, and that the entity is committed to transforming the airport into a first-class facility characterised by operational efficiency and sustainability that is repositioned as a gateway to new, high-connectivity open markets.
The CEO pointed out that GAP will follow seven guiding principles as the NMIA’s new operator.
These, he outlined, include developing a strong customer-service culture, incorporating new technologies, boosting overall operations, forging solid public- and private-sector partnerships, increased connectivity between NMIA and other principal global air hubs, and environmental sustainability.
Mr. Musalem said GAP, which operates 13 other international airports – 12 in Mexico, and the Sangster International Airport (SIA) in Montego Bay, the latter through a subsidiary since 2003, has invested more than US$1.2 billion in these facilities over the past 20 years.
The investment, he pointed out, has positioned GAP as one of the fastest growing airport groups of its size globally, adding that the facilities under its management processed 40.7 million passengers in 2017.
The CEO said GAP’s investment of US$191 million to acquire a 74.5 per cent stake in SIA represented the largest for an entity outside Mexico.
“This investment showed GAP’s confidence in the long-term potential of the Jamaican economy and our trust in the Government’s policies,” he noted.
Under the NMIA concession agreement, GAP will be responsible for improving the airport’s land and air operational efficiency and financing, and completing a modernisation programme, at an estimated cost of over U$110 million.
Additionally, the Government will receive a guaranteed percentage of the airport’s gross revenues.
GAP, which emerged as the preferred of three bidders, inclusive of two consortia of foreign and local investors, has the option to extend the arrangements by five years.
The entity’s selection followed the public opening and evaluation and Cabinet’s subsequent approval in September of the submissions received by the Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ) in July.
The transaction value for GAP’s bid totals over US$2 billion.
Noting that GAP wants to become a “key partner” of Jamaica, Mr. Musalem said the entity anticipates a “solid and long-lasting relationship”, with the Government assured that “we will work with passion for the transformation of the airport into an efficient and modern gateway for Kingston”.
Source: JIS News