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Small single-airline Florida airport, Punta Gorda, may seek lease/P3

Premium Analysis

The U.S. airport privatisation programme is on the ropes. There has been only one successful transaction of a mainstream commercial airport to date, in Puerto Rico, which is not even part of the U.S. proper, and other attempts were withdrawn in cities such as Chicago and St Louis. And that is despite improvements made to the programme to encourage wider participation.

But now the possibility of another transaction has arisen, at a small tourism-oriented airport, Punta Gorda in Florida, and it is being driven by the possibility of allocating funds from a deal to other, non-aviation related needs.

The complication here, though, is that there is only one commercial airline operating there – Allegiant. That gives Allegiant the power of veto over any transaction if it wanted to, and it is also investing in a big real estate project close to the airport, which could even be interwoven into the airport deal, thus creating a conundrum.

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