The National Academies

ACRP 03-46 [Final]

Implementing Airport Privatization: Guidance for Airport Decision Makers

  Project Data
Funds: $350,000
Research Agency: WSP
Principal Investigator: Louis Wollinetz
Effective Date: 4/24/2018
Completion Date: 6/30/2020

ACRP Research Report: Evaluating & Implementing Airport Privatization and Public-Private Partnerships: Guide for Airport Decision-Makers expands upon ACRP Report 66 to identify lessons learned in U.S. airport P3 delivery and provides airport practitioners and policymakers with guidance on strategies and capabilities necessary for achieving the benefits of successful implementation of privatization. This research focused on developer financing/operations and long-term lease or sale of commercial service airports and terminals.   The guidebook addresses a variety of issues including assessing preparedness to utilize P3s, considerations for selecting a privatization model, best practices for the solicitation, engagement, assessment and selection of the private partner, as well as best practices for the implementation and oversight of privatization and Public-Private Partnerships (P3s) with key stakeholder engagement. 
A web-based decision tree tool: P3 Readiness Assessment Tool has been developed under this research to assist airport owners in assessing if their organization is prepared to implement a P3. A variety of case studies and a series of project vignettes are also presented as well as a presentation to communicate the findings of this research to both technical and non-technical key stakeholders in the industry.
There is a broad range of strategies available for private sector participation in airport management, operations and development. This range extends from the lowest level of private involvement, such as contracting out for services, to the highest private sector involvement, such as the sale or long-term lease of the entire airport. In the United States, there are many examples of the former, with partial privatizations such as service and management contracts and terminal development, but very few of the latter where the airport has been fully privatized and the complete control of the operation is vested with a private entity through a long-term lease or sale.  
Recently, there has been increased interest in greater privatization in the U.S. and some major airports are undertaking major privatization efforts for terminal and airport modernization and expansion. There are various financial and non-financial reasons an airport may want to consider some form of privatization, such as capital infusion, attracting outside expertise, or generating greater revenues. 
ACRP 66: Considering and Evaluating Airport Privatization provided significant background on the various types of privatization options and case studies on several international airports and U.S. privatization before 2012.  Research was needed to build on the guidance provided in Report 66 and to leverage experience from more recent privatization activity in the U.S. and around the world to provide best practices for selecting a privatization model, evaluating proposals, and implementing the model. 

ACRP 03-46 was led by WSP in association with Mayer Brown LLP.

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