‘New law makes airport expansion possible’


The Commonwealth Ports Authority’s plan to expand the Francisco C. Ada/Saipan International Airport inched closer to reality yesterday after being given the authority to grant concessions for the various ports of entry in the CNMI.

CPA board member and Airport Facilities Committee chair Barrie Toves plans to leverage Public Law 19-76 in the CPA’s plan to expand the airport.

He said any such plan will depend on passenger traffic and international flight to Saipan, which is also dependent on the concession program.

“What we are trying to do now is we are developing the terminal plan to present to the bidders,” said Toves.

He said a list of renovation projects would be presented to the bidders, while the bidders are free to choose how they could provide assistance. The CPA board would then review the proposal before deciding which proposal would best benefits the Saipan airport.

“We need to accommodate the anticipated growth in the economy and tourism industry. These are the kind of terminal expansion projects that CPA is planning to engage with,” said Toves.

The current concession at the Saipan airport is held by DFS T Galleria, whose contract with CPA has already expired since November 2015.

CPA is now authorized to enter concession agreements based on the concessionaire’s intended purposes and its effects on the ports.

“This bill just signed into law by the governor gives us the flexibility to determine what type of concession we are going to implement on each of the islands separately,” said Toves.

“With this law, it is going to open the door for [CPA] to decide which kind of concession program we can implement for each of the airports.”

Now that CPA has control over the master concessions, it makes it easier for businesses to come in and allow CPA to strike up deals with business owners.

PL 4-60 allows CPA to enter into one of three pre-designed concession agreements: duty-free retail concession, master concession, and non-duty-free concession.

The duty-free retail concession agreement grants the exclusive right to operate facilities at a port of entry to deliver duty-free merchandise.

The master concession grants the exclusive right to operate facilities—at each and every port—for sale of duty-free merchandise or any other items. The life of a master concession is 20 years.

A non-duty free concession can be used with a duty-free retail concession or separately, at a single port of entry, to sell exclusively all or specified non-duty-free merchandise.

Erwin Encinares | Reporter
Erwin Charles Tan Encinares holds a bachelor’s degree from the Chiang Kai Shek College and has covered a wide spectrum of assignments for the Saipan Tribune. Encinares is the paper’s political reporter.

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