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CAPA TV | September 27, 2020

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Airport Privatisation: How To Reap The Benefits And Avoid The Pitfalls

  • On May 13, 2018

While there is relatively little airport privatisation activity in the Middle East, Saudi Arabia is privatising its airports by way of a concession process that will ultimately embrace all of them. Meanwhile, there are comparatively few investing organisations in the Middle East that take an interest in airport privatisation elsewhere, other than sovereign wealth funds and the occasional airline. Could the airport operators be more adventurous in this respect or is it the case that the bigger ones have enough to worry about at home? Looking beyond the region, over the last couple of years there have been quite a few deals concerning mid-sized airports, and a recent concentration of activity in countries such as Brazil and Japan. But there have been few big transactions and some of the main players of previous years and decades have withdrawn from the sector.

  • What can Saudi Arabia learn from transactions that have taken place elsewhere in the world and are there circumstances there, and in the region generally, which might cause external investors to be wary?
  • The public-private-partnership (P3) in its various forms has become the staple for partial privatisation in many parts of the world. How appropriate is it to this region?
  • Is there enough expertise, let alone will, in the region, to invest and operate abroad?
  • How will airport privatisation activity evolve in the future?
  • Will airports always be regarded as desirable assets (and not only by pension funds) or, bearing in mind the phenomenal rate of technological change at the moment in arenas such as space and sub-space travel and hyperloops, from an investor’s perspective might their days be numbered?

ModeratorPrivateAir Saudi Arabia, General Manager, Dr. Fethi Chebil


  • Egis, Middle East & South Asia Aviation Director, Jacques Khoriaty
  • VINCI Airports, CCO, Pierre-Hugues Schmit

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