Three bids for Westchester airport PPP

Bidders include a consortium led by Oaktree, which has already had a deal rejected by the county’s Board of Legislators.

Three groups, including an Oaktree-led consortium, have bid for a public-private partnership to run the Westchester County Airport in the suburb just north of New York City.

The bidders were: FerroStar Westchester Airport Partners, comprising Madrid-based Ferrovial and Star America Infrastructure Partners; MIC Airports, a subsidiary of Macquarie Infrastructure Corporation; and HPN Aviation Group, which consists of Oaktree Capital Management and Connor Capital.

Oaktree had previously reached a deal with Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, through which the county would have received an upfront payment of $130 million, with the firm receiving a 40-year lease to run the airport under a revenue-sharing agreement. But the county Board of Legislators rejected that agreement, saying a competitive process was needed to evaluate the offer. In April, the board released its request for proposals.

HPN was formed shortly after the RFP was issued, announcing its intent to bid for the Westchester project. A consortium led by Ferrovial, meanwhile, recently had a $1.8 billion PPP to modernise the Denver International Airport approved.

Westchester hired Frasca & Associates, a consulting firm, to oversee the selection process. The county’s Airport Task Force will review the proposals and make a recommendation to Astorino, whose office will select its preferred bidder. The agreement would then go to the Board of Legislators, with approval from 12 of 17 legislators needed for passage.

The projects look to take advantage of the Federal Aviation Administration’s Airport Privatization Pilot Program, which allows PPPs for small- to mid-sized airports. 

Opened in 1945, the airport serves approximately 1.75 million passengers per year.