As Michelle Bachelet returned this month to lead Chile’s Socialist government as president, new public works minister Alberto Undurraga pledged the launch of the US$715-million tender to expand and modernize Santiago’s Arturo Merino Benitez International Airport.
Chile has begun prequalifying bidders for the 15-year concession that will greatly increase the passenger handling capacity of the airport. The airport reached saturation in 2013 handling some 13.8 million passengers, exceeding its designed capacity of 9 million passengers/year. The expansion will increase capacity to 29 million passengers/year by 2030. The expansion “has become critical for the country,” Undurraga said. Santiago accounts for nearly 70% of Chile’s airport passenger traffic.