The government of Jair Bolsonaro intends to grant the entire network of airports in Brazil and, within approximately three years, to terminate the state-owned company that currently manages the network, Infraero. The destination will be privatization or liquidation. “It will end,” Tarcísio Gomes de Freitas, the future minister of Infrastructure, told O Estado de S. Paulo newspaper.
According to him, the question is whether it will be privatized as an airport management company or if, at the end of the process, it will be liquidated.
Infraero faces cash problems since the start of the airport concessions program under Dilma Rousseff’s government (2011-2016). Large-scale terminals, such as Guarulhos, Brasilia and Galeao, are no longer part of the state-run airports base.
She joined as a partner in several of these concessions, which served to deepen her cash problems at first. These shares of Infraero should also be sold.
According to Freitas, part of the state’s employees must be transferred to a new air control company. It has already been disconnected in a program of voluntary dismissal based on resources obtained from the concessions.
On average, he says, nearly 1 thousand employees have been shut down every year. At the beginning of the process, Infraero had 12,000 employees. Today, there are 9 thousand.
Tarcisio Gomes de Freitas confirmed the information in advance by the State’s Column that Brigadier Hélio Paes de Barros will be president of the state and denied that the name was imposed by the military group around the future president: “It was my choice.”
Freitas added that Paes de Barros, the current director of National Aviation Agency, was chosen precisely because he was in tune with the government’s plans to accelerate the concessions. “It’s a great name, it has deep knowledge in the area and will align with us the airport concessions program.”
The program will be reinforced with the displacement of the economist Martha Seillier, now head of the special advisory office of the Civil House of the Presidency, to the board of Infraero. She has previously been director of regulation and competition for the Civil Aviation Secretariat and has worked in the area of policy formulation for civil aviation in the Ministry of Defense.
According to Freitas, the idea is to hold, in March, the auction of the 12 airports in the North, Northeast, and Midwest, whose edict has already been drafted in the current government. Soon after the auction, he plans to announce a new round, with three more airport blocks. And when the auction of that block is completed, it will announce the seventh and supposedly last batch of airports to be awarded to the private sector.
There are still “crown jewels” to be auctioned. Congonhas airport in Sao Paulo was included in the concessions program, which was withdrawn due to political pressure and a lack of definition of what would be done with Infraero in the future. In the same case is the airport Santos Dumont, in Rio. Both are under the administration of Infraero.