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 of 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 Report 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 is 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.
The objective of this research is to expand upon ACRP Report 66 to (1) identify lessons learned in U.S. and international airport privatization models and (2) provide airport practitioners and policymakers with guidance on strategies and capabilities necessary for achieving the benefits of successful implementation of privatization. This research should focus on developer financing/operation and long-term lease or sale of commercial service airports/terminals (as initially referenced in Report 66, page 1 in Section 1.3, Figure 1.2.). The guidance should address, but not be limited to:
- Considerations for selecting a privatization model to include:
- Risk and control transfer, including the underlying complexity;
- Optimizing financial and non-financial objectives;
- Innovation and creativity;
- Stakeholder engagement;
- Political and governance;
- Economic impact; and
- Airport reputation.
- Best practices for the solicitation, engagement, assessment and selection of the private partner, to include:
- Alignment of organizational goals;
- Financial considerations;
- Operational considerations;
- Qualifications and track record or experience; and
- Transparency of the process.
- Best practices for the implementation and oversight of privatization to include:
- Airport governance (ownership structure and decision making);
- Laws and regulations (federal, state, and local);
- Contractual audit and compliance;
- Performance management (e.g., KPIs, etc.);
- Leadership and organizational culture; and
- Key stakeholder engagement.
The ACRP is seeking the insights of proposers on how best to achieve the research objective. Proposers are asked to develop and include a detailed research plan for accomplishing the project objective. Proposers are expected to describe research plans that can realistically be accomplished within the constraints of available funds and contract time. Proposals must present the proposers' current thinking in sufficient detail to demonstrate their understanding of the issues and the soundness of their approach to meeting the research objective. The work proposed must be divided into tasks and proposers must describe the work proposed in each task in detail.
The research plan should include appropriate interim deliverables, for ACRP approval, that include at minimum:
1. Case study examples that incorporate the concepts in Chapter 8 of ACRP Report 66 that explains the benefits and challenges of privatization in the U.S. Refer to all the Tables to identify all factors that contributed to the outcome of the privatization models pursued.
2. A comparative analysis of the key performance indicators of specific private and publicly owned airports. Include various models of privatized airports/terminals and include dimensions that reflect the values of U.S. public airports (e.g., economic development, labor policies, social participation [i.e., DBE], etc.).
3. An interim report that describes work done in early tasks with an updated work plan for remaining tasks; and a detailed outline of the final guidance document that will require ACRP approval.
The research plan should include other appropriate checkpoints with the ACRP panel, including at a minimum (1) a kick-off teleconference meeting to be held within 1 month of the Notice to Proceed and (2) one face-to-face interim deliverable review meeting, as well as web-enabled teleconferences tied to the panel review and ACRP approval of other interim deliverables deemed appropriate.
The final deliverables will include: (1) a guidance document that meets the research objective and includes an updated glossary from Report 66 as necessary; (2) a presentation to be used to communicate findings to key stakeholders, both technical and non-technical, in the industry; (3) a contractor’s final report that documents the methodology of their entire research effort, including any background information and the research team’s recommendation of research needs and priorities for additional related research; and (4) a stand-alone technical memorandum titled “Implementation of Research Findings and Products.” (See Special Note J.)
Note: Following receipt of the draft final deliverables, there should be 3 months for ACRP review and comments and for contractor preparation of the final deliverables. For budgeting purposes, proposers should assume that ACRP will provide access to web-enabled teleconference services. ACRP will pay panel members’ travel costs for the face-to-face meeting. Proposers should assume that the meeting will be held in Washington, DC.
A. ACRP publications and other relevant industry-related resources should be consulted when conducting this research. It is expected that portions of these publications and or resources will be discussed or linked into the final publication as appropriate, including but not limited to, ACRP Report 66: Considering and Evaluating Airport Privatization.
B. The proposer’s team should include persons with expertise in with privatization investments at airports.
C. Proposers should consider how this guidance would be used by airports or in considering application to the FAA Airport Privatization Pilot Program.
D. The proposer is encouraged to expedite the research into a shorter time frame given the industry interest.
E. A strategic priority for ACRP is to assure quality in its research projects. ACRP therefore encourages the principal investigator of the successful proposer to participate in a 1-day Symposium on ACRP Research in Progress that will be held during the Transportation Research Board’s 2019 Annual Meeting in Washington, DC. Proposers may include this cost in their proposed project budget.
F. Airports have received many surveys in response to ACRP projects. In an effort to ensure an adequate response rate and collection of information, proposers may consider the use of focus groups, Internet/web-based technologies, social networking sites, and industry conferences or other techniques that may be appropriate.
G. Proposals are evaluated by the ACRP staff and project panels consisting of individuals collectively very knowledgeable in the problem area. Selection of a proposal is made by the project panel considering the following factors: (1) the proposer's demonstrated understanding of the problem; (2) the merit of the proposed research approach and experiment design; (3) the experience, qualifications, and objectivity of the research team in the same or closely related problem area; (4) the plan for ensuring application of results; (5) the proposer's plan for participation by Disadvantaged Business Enterprises--small firms owned and controlled by minorities or women; and (6) the adequacy of the facilities.
Note: The proposer's plan for participation by Disadvantaged Business Enterprises should be incorporated in Item 12 of the proposal.
H. Proposals should include a task-by-task breakdown of labor hours for each staff member as shown in Figure 4 in the brochure, "Information and Instructions for Preparing Proposals" (http://onlinepubs.trb.org/onlinepubs/crp/docs/ProposalPrep.pdf). Proposals also should include a breakdown of all costs (e.g., wages, indirect costs, travel, materials, and total) for each task using Figures 5 and 6 in the brochure. Please note that TRB Cooperative Research Program subawards (selected proposers are considered subawards to the National Academy of Sciences, the parent organization of TRB) must comply with 2 CFR 200 – Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards. These requirements include a provision that proposers without a “federally” Negotiated Indirect Costs Rate Agreement (NICRA) shall be subject to a maximum allowable indirect rate of 10% of Modified Total Direct Costs. Modified Total Direct Costs include all salaries and wages, applicable fringe benefits, materials and supplies, services, travel, and up to the first $25,000 of each lower-tier subaward and subcontract. Modified Total Direct Costs exclude equipment, capital expenditures, charges for patient care, rental costs, tuition remission, scholarships and fellowships, participant support costs and the portion of each lower-tier subaward and subcontract in excess of $25,000.
I. Item 4(c), "Anticipated Research Results," in each proposal must include an Implementation Plan that describes activities to promote application of the product of this research. It is expected that the implementation plan will evolve during the project; however, proposals must describe, as a minimum, the following: (a) the "product" expected from the research, (b) the audience or "market" for this product, (c) a realistic assessment of impediments to successful implementation, (d) the institutions and individuals who might take leadership in applying the research product, (e) the activities necessary for successful implementation, and (f) the criteria for judging the progress and consequences of implementation.
J. The required technical memorandum titled “Implementation of Research Findings and Products” should (a) provide recommendations on how to best put the research findings/products into practice; (b) identify possible institutions that might take leadership in applying the research findings/products; (c) identify issues affecting potential implementation of the findings/products and recommend possible actions to address these issues; and (d) recommend methods of identifying and measuring the impacts associated with implementation of the findings/products. Implementation of these recommendations is not part of the research project and, if warranted, details of these actions will be developed and implemented in future efforts.
K. Item 5 in the proposal, "Qualifications of the Research Team," must include a section labeled "Disclosure." Information relevant to the ACRP's need to ensure objectivity and to be aware of possible sources of significant financial or organizational conflict of interest in conducting the research must be presented in this section of the proposal. For example, under certain conditions, ownership of the proposing agency, other organizational relationships, or proprietary rights and interests could be perceived as jeopardizing an objective approach to the research effort, and proposers are asked to disclose any such circumstances and to explain how they will be accounted for in this study. If there are no issues related to objectivity, this should be stated.
L. Copyrights - All data, written materials, computer software, graphic and photographic images, and other information prepared under the contract and the copyrights therein shall be owned by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. The contractor and subcontractors will be able to publish this material for non-commercial purposes, for internal use, or to further academic research or studies with permission from TRB Cooperative Research Programs. The contractor and subcontractors will not be allowed to sell the project material without prior approval by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. By signing a contract with the National Academy of Sciences, contractors accept legal responsibility for any copyright infringement that may exist in work done for TRB. Contractors are therefore responsible for obtaining all necessary permissions for use of copyrighted material in TRB’s Cooperative Research Programs publications. For guidance on TRB’s policies on using copyrighted material please consult Section 5.4, “Use of Copyrighted Material,” in the Procedural Manual for Contractors.
M. If the research approach includes human subjects testing, proposers should be aware that the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine has its own Institutional Review Board (IRB) that must review and approve the results of the proposing agency’s IRB process. It should be assumed that this step will require several weeks.