Rio’s Santos Dumont Airport’s ‘go-it-alone’ concession dramatically changed to double with Galeão

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Brazil is nearing the end of a state auction of its main airports, one that began a decade ago. The more recent rounds have been of small regional airports, but the domestic airports in the two biggest cities - having been held back previously to help the finances of the state operator, Infraero - have been included for this seventh tranche, which will be completed in the first half of this year.

A readjustment will mean that Rio de Janeiro's Santos Dumont Airport will be auctioned separately, while the 'block' it was previously in is given over to the Congonhas Airport (São Paulo) group.

The asking price for all the airports seems high, and in the case of Santos Dumont it is eye-watering. Whether or not such prices can be achieved until 'normality' is achieved is open to question.

It is to be wondered whether the government had considered linking Santos Dumont and Congonhas into one package.

While foreign investors will be attracted to the Rio airport in particular, there will be nagging concerns as to whether a future government might revoke the concessions - after all, that has happened before, in several countries.

Meanwhile the existing government is selling off infrastructure as fast as it can to improve the country's economic outlook before the presidential election.

NOTE: As if to prove how discoordinated the procedure has become, the Santos Dumont concession was suddenly aborted altogether on 11-Feb-2022 and postponed until 2023, when it will be combined with a reconcession of Rio's main international Galeão airport. (See 'Breaking News' at the end of the article).

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