Orix, Vinci win 42-year Kobe Airport privatisation

The $171m award means the pair will run three airports in Japan’s Kansai region.

A consortium formed of Japanese financial group Orix Corporation, France’s Vinci Airports and Kansai Airports has been chosen to run Kobe Airport for 42 years.  
The total contract fee for the concession stands at ¥19.14 billion ($171 million; €147 million) with the consortium required to pay ¥450 million upfront and another ¥445 million every year, a spokeswoman for Kansai Airports told Infrastructure Investor. The airport operator will share 3 percent of any earned revenue exceeding ¥20 billion with the government.
Kobe Airport, which was built on an artificial island on Osaka Bay, is Kansai region’s third-largest airport. It is also the third Kansai airport to come under the management of Orix and Vinci, after the pair took over the 44-year concessions of Kansai International and Osaka International airports in April 2016, holding a 40 percent stake each in the airport concessionaire, Kansai Airports. 
The two hubs handled 40 million passengers in 2016, forming the country’s second-largest airport facility.

“The consortium is slated to enter into the basic agreement with Kobe City regarding the project and establish a special purpose company that will become the operating right holder for the project with full funding by Kansai Airports,” said Orix.

The team was the sole suitor for the airport when it submitted its final proposal on 30 June this year, the Kansai Airports spokeswoman added. 
Operating rights will be granted to the winning team in October, followed by an official takeover of the operations in April 2018. The duo said integrating the three Kansai facilities will help boost traffic to the region’s three large cities, Osaka, Kobe and Kyoto.
Kobe Airport is the fourth airport privatisation in Japan. In addition to the first two Kansai hubs, a group led by railway operator Tokyu Corporation and contractor Maeda Corporation won the rights to run Sendai Airport in northern Japan in September 2015. 

The Japanese government is also looking to privatise Fukuoka and Kumamoto airports in Kyushu and Takamatsu Airport in Shikoku.