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Brazil Starts Privatization Process of Its Airports

Viracopos International Airport in São Paulo, Brazil Brazil's minister of Defense, Nelson Jobim, believes that it should be possible to adopt a model for concession of public airports in Brazil to private organizations next year. The first airports to be tendered should be the International airport of Galeão, in Rio de Janeiro, and Viracopos, in Campinas, in the interior of São Paulo.

"We hope that next year we may have conditions to release the call to tender for Viracopos and Galeão and to have the matter completed," said the minister last week, on board aircraft carrier São Paulo, where he participated in a ceremony for transfer of posts of the Rio de Janeiro Naval Operations and Naval Director-General.

The choice of airports was a political decision by Brazilian president, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, according to Jobim. In the case of Viracopos, the idea is to unburden the air traffic in the international airport of Guarulhos and Congonhas, both in São Paulo.

With regard to Galeão, the plan is to guarantee good infrastructure, as Brazil is going to host the 2014 World Cup and Rio is one of the candidate cities running to host the 2016 Olympics.

The minister also stated that the president of the Brazilian Development Bank (BNDES), Luciano Coutinho, should be the coordinator of studies of models for concession and replacement of employees at the Brazilian Airport Infrastructure Company (Infraero), which currently operates services.

Jobim also said that a model for concession for a new airport in São Paulo should also be inaugurated, but the date has not yet been defined. He also mentioned a plan to create an express train connecting Guarulhos, Congonhas and Viracopos.

Last week Jobim had said that Lula authorized an analysis about the concession of two airports (Galeão and Viracopos) and guaranteed that the works should not be halted.

Jobim, assured that the Infraero will not be harmed by the privatization of two of the 67 public airports that are now managed by the state owned company.

According to the minister, the government has already taken the political decision to privatize Viracopos and Tom Jobim, or Galeão, in Rio. For him, the loss of revenue by Infraero will be dealt with an "internal reorganization" of the state company.

"The political decision is already taken. Now it is just a technical matter," said Jobim. "The BNDES (National Bank of Economic and Social Development and Social) is going to conduct the study and then the concession of the two airports will be decided."

Last week, Jobim had already explained that it is necessary to relieve the air traffic in the two main airports of São Paulo, Guarulhos and Congonhas, as well as guaranteeing the Galeão's infrastructure, since Brazil will host the World Cup of 2014 and Rio is candidate to host the 2016 Olympics.

For the minister, the private sector will be more agile to take care of the necessary undertakings.

"We need agility and the problem is not with Infraero, but with the public system, with the need of bids and a series of other requirements," said Jobim.
 
ABr

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