Implementing Airport Privatization: Guidance for Airport Decision Makers

There is a broad range of strategies available for private sector participation in airport management, operations and development. This range extends from the lowest level of private involvement, such as contracting out for services, to the highest private sector involvement, such as the sale of long-term lease of the entire airport. In the United States, there are many examples of the former, with partial privatizations such as service and management contracts and terminal development, but very few of the latter where the airport has been fully privatized and the complete control of the operation is vested with a private entity through a long-term lease or sale.   Recently, there has been increased interest in greater privatization in the U.S. and some major airports are undertaking major privatization efforts for terminal and airport modernization and expansion. There are various financial and non-financial reasons an airport may want to consider some form of privatization, such as capital infusion, attracting outside expertise, or generating greater revenues.  ACRP Report 66: Considering and Evaluating Airport Privatization provided significant background on the various types of privatization options and case studies on several international airports and U.S. privatization before 2012. Research is needed to build on the guidance provided in Report 66 and to leverage experience from more recent privatization activity in the U.S. and around the world to provide best practices for selecting a privatization model, evaluating proposals, and implementing the model.  The objective of this research is to expand upon ACRP Report 66 to (1) identify lessons learned in U.S. and international airport privatization models and (2) provide airport practitioners and policymakers with guidance on strategies and capabilities necessary for achieving the benefits of successful implementation of privatization. This research should focus on developer financing/operation and long-term lease or sale of commercial service airports/terminals (as initially referenced in Report 66, page 1 in Section 1.3, Figure 1.2.).  The guidance should address, but not be limited to:   (1) Considerations for selecting a privatization model to include: (a) Risk and control transfer, including the underlying complexity; (b) Optimizing financial and non-financial objectives; (c) Innovation and creativity; (d) Stakeholder engagement; (e) Political and governance; (f) Economic impact; and (g) Airport reputation. (2) Best practices for the solicitation, engagement, assessment and selection of the private partner, to include:    (a) Alignment of organizational goals; (b) Financial  considerations;   (c) Operational considerations;    (d) Qualifications and track record or experience; and (e) Transparency of the process. (3) Best practices for the implementation and oversight of privatization to include: (a) Airport governance (ownership structure and decision making); (b) Laws and regulations (federal, state, and local); (c) Contractual audit and compliance; (d) Performance management (e.g., KPIs, etc.);  (e) Leadership and organizational culture; and (f) Key stakeholder engagement.


  • English


  • Status: Completed
  • Contract Numbers:

    Project 03-46

  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Airport Cooperative Research Program

    Transportation Research Board
    500 Fifth Street, NW
    Washington, DC    20001

    Federal Aviation Administration

    800 Independence Avenue, SW
    Washington, DC  United States  20591
  • Project Managers:

    Schatz, Theresia

  • Performing Organizations:


    One Penn Plaza
    250 W 34th Street
    New York, New York  United States  10119
  • Principal Investigators:

    Wollinetz, Louis

  • Start Date: 20180424
  • Expected Completion Date: 20200630
  • Actual Completion Date: 0
  • Source Data: RiP Project 41857

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01642768
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Transportation Research Board
  • Contract Numbers: Project 03-46
  • Files: TRB, RiP, USDOT
  • Created Date: Jul 29 2017 1:00AM