Avinor awards ATC services contract to Spain’s Saerco

Avinor has awarded a five-year contract for air traffic control services at Ålesund and Kristiansand airport to Spain’s Saerco.

Four bidders took part in the tender and Avinor said Saerco won with the highest score on quality and price which will mean savings of around NOK 15 million, or around 37 per cent.

In accordance with the white paper from the Norwegian government, adopted by the Parliament in 2017, Avinor must now put air traffic services out on tender to secure less expensive and/or better services.

Defence and the Armed Forces have also been consulted on the choice of Ålesund and Kristiansand airports for competition and Avinor said it had also been in dialogue with the Norwegian National Security Authority.

Avinor added that several bidders submitted excellent bids in terms of quality. including its own subsidiary Avinor Flysikring. The bid from Saerco was however considered to bring something new and relevant to service delivery that would provide additional value.

“The bidding process has resulted in a new supplier of tower and approach control services. Saerco had the highest score on the quality criterion and is cheapest. The company was particularly good with regard to environment and innovation. Saerco also has its own training facilities with a simulator that will be used to optimise operations and conduct efficient training,” said Avinor chairman Anne Carine Tanum.

Saerco, who currently operates control towers at several major airports in Spain, will commence operation of the control towers at Ålesund and Kristiansand airports from 1 March 2020.

“It is positive that Saerco has stated that they will offer employment to the current air traffic controllers through a business transfer,” said Tanum.

Avinor which is engaged in a cost reduction programme said it will also discuss with Avinor Flysikring the cost of procurement of services at its other airports.

Avinor said its chief executive who also is chairman of Avinor Flysikring had had no access to information on the tender and that it was only its external board members who determined the contract. Avinor said it had been assisted by independent air navigation expertise and legal expertise on public procurements. The Competition Authority has also been informed.

During the procurement process Avinor became aware that a former manager and owner with Saerco was mentioned in Spanish media in connection with a corruption case in Spain in the period 2003-2009.

Avinor said that in order to clarify whether there were issues that could lead to its rejection from the competition, several investigations were conducted. “The company itself and an external Spanish law firm hired by Avinor have verified that this individual no longer holds a position in the company or is a direct or indirect owner of the company. There are therefore no grounds for rejection,” said Avinor.

“Avinor has a zero-tolerance policy in relation to corruption. It has therefore been important to us to clarify this matter. The contract will include a provision stating that if Saerco, its employees, management or owners are prosecuted for financial crimes in the contract period, Avinor may terminate the contract. It has also been confirmed that Saerco will put into place an anti-corruption programme in the course of 2019, well before the contract takes effect. Saerco is a well-qualified company that we are confident will provide good control tower services,” said Tanum.