Airports Authority opposes privatisation

The
Authority opposes the Miller Report’s recommendation that the airport be
privatised.

The Cayman Islands Airports
Authority has rejected a recommendation in the Miller Report that Owen Roberts
International Airport should be privatised.

The report stated that as well as
receiving proceeds from the sale of the airport, the government would save CI$8.7
million per year that public entities provide as an annual subsidy payment to
the airport.

The Miller Report, completed last
month, stated: “Without public revenue contributions, the Authority would be
running at a loss.”

In a statement released on Tuesday
evening, the Airports Authority said the CI$8.7 million referred to in the report
does not represent an annual subsidy payment, insisting it did not receive any
subsidy from the Cayman Islands Government.

The statement said that the Cayman
Islands Airports Authority revenues represent monies collected as rent,
utilities, parking and landing fees and passenger fees from various government
entities including the Department of Immigration, the Customs Department and
Cayman Airways.

“Obviously, privatisation of the
airport would not eliminate the need for those government entities to pay these
fees,” the statement said.

Commenting on the Miller Report’s recommendation
that the airport be privatised, chairman of the CIAA board of directors, Norman
Bodden said, “Personally, I doubt very much that the Cayman Islands
Government would condone or consider relinquishing the control of airports in
the Cayman Islands to any one individual or entity which could result in
creating a monopoly of our airport business.

“Furthermore, I believe that the
UK’s civil aviation authorities would also need to be consulted.”

Mr. Bodden said the Authority has
been operating with a net income since its inception in 2004.

“As of June 30, 2009, the CIAA had
accumulated a net income of approximately CI$19 million and in October 2009,
our Authority was able to contribute CI$7 million to the Cayman Islands Government
by way of a dividend payment. It is important to note that the approximate net
income of CI$19 million was not the result of any form of subsidy from the
government,” he said.

The statement by the Authority
referred to comments made by Premier McKeeva Bush regarding privatisation.

It quoted Mr. Bush as saying: “While
I believe that partnerships with the private sector can be entered into for
improvements and expansion of the airport or the seaport facilities, I do not
support divestment of those key assets or relinquishing any control to private
enterprise.”

The Authority went on to assure the
public that it was committed to continue to function as a “viable business
entity and to exercise fiscal prudence and profitability, while maintaining a
safe and secure environment for all airport users”.

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