Successful bidders for concessions facilities at Owen Roberts International Airport were notified Saturday via letters from the Cayman Islands Airports Authority, the Cayman Compass has learned.
The letters, dated June 2, requested that successful applicants – selling everything from souvenirs, to jewelry, to alcohol – enter into lease agreements with the authority in the next two weeks, if they wish to provide services at the revamped terminal at Grand Cayman’s airport.
The new airport departures terminal is expected to be substantially complete by the end of this year.
Although it’s not clear how the matter was ultimately resolved, a number of successful bidders contacted by the Cayman Compass over the weekend indicated their belief that there would not need to be another request for bids sent out for the concessions contracts, as was first feared.
The concern was that, if a new bidding process was required, the opening of concessions services would be delayed beyond the new airport departure facility’s opening in December, leaving the terminal without concessions amenities for departing travelers.
A total of 42 bids for concessions services were received by the airports authority last year for available spots inside and outside the terminal; however, airport officials missed their own deadline to announce the bid winners, set for December 2017.
The authority then sought permission from all concessions applicants to retroactively extend the original bids’ validity period until June 7, 2018.
It is not known whether all of the bidders gave signed consent for the extension, but the bidders contacted by the Compass during the weekend assumed all companies involved had done so.
According to information provided to the Cayman Compass, the successful bidders included Tortuga Rum Company, Island Companies, Jacques Scott, Kirk Freeport and Island Taste (including the Hungry Horse restaurant).
It was understood those five companies received a collective total of 10 of the available concessions spaces at the new departures terminal.
Tortuga Rum Company founder Robert Hamaty said Sunday that, while his group did not get all the spaces it bid for, he was happy the long, drawn-out concessions bid process seemed to be over.
“We’re happy it has come to a close and we’re looking forward to moving as fast as possible for the grand opening in December 2018,” Mr. Hamaty said.
Ken Thompson, owner of Island Taste, said he was glad to know that Hungry Horse – serving airport users for more than 50 years – could continue to operate under the new lease arrangements.
Gerry Kirkconnell of Kirk Freeport and Matt Bishop, representing Island Companies, also both confirmed their respective entities had received spaces in the new concessions facilities.
Mr. Bishop said he was also glad the matter appeared to have been resolved.
“It seemed like the whole request for proposals thing was a bit of a storm in a teacup,” he said.