Home Aviation Macquarie selected to operate Westchester Airport

Macquarie selected to operate Westchester Airport

Macquarie Infrastructure Corp. has been selected to operate Westchester Airport in a $1.1 billion public-private partnership.

macquarie westchester airport
From left, Clive Lowe, executive chairman of MIC Airports LLC, and Jonathan Walbridge, managing director of Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets. Photo by Bob Rozycki

The Manhattan company was chosen by County Executive Robert P. Astorino and was recommended by a six-member task force composed of members of his administration and the county Board of Legislators.

The board’s Democratic chairman, however, said any decision on an airport deal with a private partner  should be delayed until the incoming administration of Democrat George Latimer, who defeated the two-term Republican incumbent Astorino in Tuesday’s election, has researched the competing proposals.

“Westchester County Airport is an important community asset, and we will be solid long-term stewards for the citizens of Westchester County,” Macquarie officials said in a statement. “We look forward to working with the current and incoming county executive and county legislators to move this partnership forward. We are pleased that our message — investing in quality, working closely with the surrounding communities and investing more in environmental protection — was well-received.”

The county and the company will negotiate final terms and county legislators will vote on the deal. At least 12 of the 17 lawmakers must approve the lease.

However, Michael Kaplowitz, chairman of the county Board of Legislators, said, “I believe that it is appropriate to take in consideration the opinions of County Executive-elect George Latimer during our budget deliberations. I also believe that any decision regarding the privatization of the Westchester County Airport should not be undertaken until the new administration has an opportunity to fully research the RFP respondents’ proposals.”

The county will get more than $1.1 billion over 40 years, including $300 million upfront. It will be reimbursed $10 million for airport police, with payments increasing 2.5 percent a year for a total of $674 million.

The county expects to receive an annual revenue stream of $6.5 million that can be applied to the budget.

Macquarie has also agreed to spend $550 million on capital projects, such as terminal improvements, environmental measures, baggage handling and dining options.

The lease is written to keep the airport footprint and capacity as is: no runway expansions, keeping the number of gates at six and capping passengers at 240 per half-hour.

The task force scored Macquarie higher than two other proposals. HPN Aviation Group, a joint venture of Oaktree Transportation and Connor Capital Transportation Opportunities, ranked second. FerroStar Westchester Airport Partners, made up of Ferrovial Airports International and Star America Fund, ranked third.

Macquarie Infrastructure Corp. operates a variety of businesses of bulk liquids and gas production and distribution.

As part of its portfolio, Macquarie owns Atlantic Aviation, a Plano, Texas-based operator of more than 60 fixed-base operator facilities across the country, including locations at Stewart International and Teterboro airports.

Macquarie also has ownership and management interests in eight airports worldwide, including the Brussels Airport, Copenhagen Airport and Delhi Airport.

Macquarie has participated in seven public-private partnerships in North America, largely in the roads and transportation sector. Most recently, the company started construction earlier this year on the Goethals Bridge that connects Elizabeth, New Jersey to Staten Island.

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