House Passes Airports Regulations, 2003


The Airports (Economic Regulation) (Expansion Fund) (Norman Manley International Airport) Regulations, 2003, was passed by the House of Representatives, on Tuesday (Oct. 21) at Gordon House. The Regulations were drafted under the Airports (Economic Regulations) Act, 2002.
In piloting the Bill, Minister of Transport and Works, Robert Pickersgill recalled the passage of the Airports (Economic Regulations) Act, 2002, which established the Civil Aviation Authority, as the agency with responsibility for economic regulation for designated scheduled airports – Norman Manley and Sangster – and provided for the introduction of an airport improvement fee, which was to be paid by all passengers departing Jamaica.
In early 2003, he said Orders and Regulations under section 6, sub-section 1 and 21 of the Act were passed by the House. The Orders provided the framework for the implementation of the airport improvement fee at both airports, and the Airports (Economic Regulation) (Expansion Fund) Airport Improvement Fee (Sangster International Airport) Regulation 2003, provided for the management and use of the Government’s Airport Expansion Fund for the Sangster International Airport.
The Airport Expansion Fund bank account, where airport improvement fees collected at both international airports are being deposited, has been established at the Bank of Nova Scotia Jamaica Limited, Minister Pickersgill informed the House.
Since the establishment of the airport improvement fee, US$1.9 million has been collected for the Sangster International Airport, of which US$1.36 million has been used for approved capital development expenditure and debt service for that airport.
With respect to the Norman Manley International Airport, a total of US$1.08 million has been collected and is being held in the Norman Manley International Airport Expansion Fund account, which is an interest-bearing account.
Minister Pickersgill told his colleagues that the development plan for the Norman Manley International Airport had been finalized and would be presented before the end of 2003.
“The capital development programme has now been completed by the Airports Authority of Jamaica for the Norman Manley International Airport, and as with the Sangster International Airport, the development of the Norman Manley International Airport is critical to the strategy of stimulating growth and development of the Jamaican economy,” he told the House.
Consistent with a policy of privatisation of both airports, he said the Government had put in place an economic regulatory and commercial framework that applied equally to both airports, which have been designated as scheduled airports, under the Airports (Economic Regulations) Act, 2002 and were therefore, subject to regulations by the Civil Aviation Authority.
In addition, Minister Pickersgill said the airport charges, which were promulgated on December 27, 2002, as well as the airport improvement fee of US$5 for departing passengers applied equally to both airports, adding that these arrangements would allow the Norman Manley International Airport to independently generate and procure funding for substantial modernisation and expansion of the airport to meet demand.
Other measures, which were taken to ensure the viability and self-sufficiency of both airports, Minister Pickersgill said, included the establishment of a mechanism and legal framework for passenger terminal and security charges, and for the airport improvement fee to be collected efficiently, thereby proving the certainty of cash flows. These charges are now collected weekly in respect of travel on scheduled airlines and have significantly enhanced the capability of the airports to implement its development programmes on a timely basis, he said.
These arrangement in respect of Norman Manley International Airport would not only allow for the future privatisation of that airport, he said, but would facilitate the financing of the capital development works of the airport on commercial terms, independent of Government guarantee.
He pointed out that several additional measures needed to be put in place in respect of the Norman Manley International Airport to facilitate these, including the establishment of the Norman Manley International Airports Limited, as the approved operator under section 4 sub-section 6 of the Airports (Economic Regulations) Act, 2002.
This company, Minister Pickersgill said, “will enter into a concession agreement with the Airport Authority of Jamaica for the operation of the Norman Manley International Airport, and will be held to specific performance criteria, similar to the Sangster International Airport, including international levels of service and safety”.

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