Brazil to sell off dozens of airports

(CNN) – Brazil is selling off dozens of airports as the country focuses on investing in places like its deep-water oil coast, La Serra, state press agency Agencia Brasil reported Monday.

According to the agency, the government has reached an agreement with Boeing Co. and Airbus SE to conduct a bidding process for the rights to operate 104 airports.

The director of the state-owned Brazilian airport company Renascenca, Táboras Voce, told the agency that 59 airports are considered prime sites. The Brazilian press agency also said flights in those airports are forecast to increase by 12% over the next decade.

Airbus’s chief executive officer also welcomed the announcement, telling reporters at a conference in Paris the sale “encourages new entrants to … enter into a market” that he sees as “gold” for Europe’s aerospace giant.

Airbus currently operates six airports in Brazil. Boeing said it hadn’t yet evaluated the process but that it would do so “as soon as possible.”

Under the bidding agreement, Airbus and Boeing are allowed to propose airplane options and cut their final prices for the rights to operate the airports, Agencia Brasil reported.

Prime airports to be auctioned include those in Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Recife, Salvador and Curitiba.

As part of President Michel Temer’s “fight against poverty,” Brazil is looking to close more than 70 road, seaport and airport infrastructure projects that were initially developed on government-financed contracts but are no longer economically viable. The plan is to lease out and run those publicly owned facilities.

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