Interest in airport privatization is increasing, especially as local and regional governments look for ways to make their airports as efficient, competitive, and financially viable as possible. Consideration by communities, governing boards, airport officials, and other stakeholders on whether to privatize all or part of an airport is a significant decision with long-term impacts. As such, the decision-making process must ensure that a thorough and complete review is undertaken, so financial and other implications of privatization are fully understood and, hence, an informed, transparent decision can be made. Experience in the United States with the wide range of options for full and partial privatization of airports is limited. Private-sector participation in airports--through ownership, management, or new investment programs--can take many forms, including outright sale of assets; management contracts; public-private partnership (P3) agreements; long-term leases; design-build-finance-operate; and other private finance initiatives. Airport privatization has been adopted or considered in various forms at many foreign and a limited number of U.S. airports. The Airport Privatization Pilot Program, under 49 U.S.C. Section 47134, provides a limited number of airports in the United States with a vehicle for airport privatization and continues to generate discussion among airport operators and owners, governing boards, and airport officials. Some airport proprietors have prepared applications to participate in the program using various models for the privatization of U.S. airports. As the discussion of these issues continues, U.S. airport stakeholders require an objective presentation of the international experience with airport privatization and the relative advantages and disadvantages of privatization for U.S. airports.
The objective of this research is to develop a guidebook on airport privatization that assists airport proprietors, policymakers, and other relevant stakeholders as they consider and analyze the potential advantages and disadvantages of implementing various approaches to airport privatization.
: Research has been completed and is published as ACRP Report 66