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TRANSPORT

Eight companies vying for airport fule contract

The former contract was cancelled due to it being unfair to the state-owned entity that runs the airport.

Spanish version

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Companies interested in a fuel contract at Tocumen International Airport recently toured the facilities. Companies interested in a fuel contract at Tocumen International Airport recently toured the facilities.
Companies interested in a fuel contract at Tocumen International Airport recently toured the facilities. Roberto Cisneros

Tocumen, S.A., officials recently met with the eight companies vying for the concession to provide fuel at the airport, Panama's largest.

The contract will be the first issued by the entity under the leadership of new director Carlos Duboy. 

The eight companies together have a presence at more than 100 airports around the world. 

The airport is looking for a new supplier after cancelling the contract last year that was signed in 2011. It was annulled when it was determined that it was unfair to the state-owned company. 

The companies that participated in the meeting, which extended for more than 5 hours were: GB Energy Management (Spain); Million Air (United States); CLH Aviación (Spain); Petroleum Supply Logistic (United States); Menzies Aviation (England); Ogden Aviation Services (United States); Swissport International (Switzerland); And AEG Fuels (United States). 

Whoever wins will have the enormous responsibility of dispatching the fuel to all the aircraft that are supplied at Tocumen. It represents about 600,000 gallons a day on average. 

Among the doubts that the companies had was if the one who awarded the contract had to create a partnership in Panama to provide the service, taking into account that none has a presence in the country. 

Faced with this concern, Franklin Carrillo, Tocumen's commercial vice president, commented that companies that decide to create a company in the country must maintain the same share component established in their core operations. 

He said that before signing the award, the board of directors of the airport will verify who will be the final beneficiaries of the contract and, for this, will be investigating the shareholders. 

The contract signed in 2011 between Tocumen and the US company Asig Limited included the Panamanian company Asig Panama, S.A., of which the shareholder information was not available. 

Sources participating in the airport and energy sector indicated that among the non-visible local partners of the US company was Gabriel Betsh, who during the past administration obtained millionaire contracts at the air terminal, among them, the concession for the operation of the parking lots which was also annulled.

Another point within the specifications that generated confusion among the companies was the construction of an industrial zone inside the airport for use to distribute the fiuel. 

In the sheet, it was not specified what the function of this industrial zone would be, or the size it should have and what its capacity would be. 

Airport spokespeople said they would clarify this point through an addendum, but said they were referring to the construction of a fuel station to supply the vehicles used by the airlines for operation within the perimeter of the airport. 

Currently, these vehicles and those used to carry the suitcases are supplied with small containers, a procedure that has been eliminated in most of the air terminals. 

Although this service will be part of the contract, each airline must pay the contractor for the fuel they use. 

It was also clarified that the selected contractor will only have to build the gas station in Tocumen, since in the other airports that will be in the contract (David, Río Hato, Panama Pacifico and Colón), will only be responsible for the dispatch of fuel to the aircraft

The companies requested an extension of 60 days to finish preparing their proposals, since the delivery of documents was set for May 15.

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