Miami-Dade overhauls airport concession process

Miami_International_Airport_Logo.svgMiami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez has taken over the leasing function from Miami Dade Airport Aviation Department, the authority that oversees concessions at Miami International Airport.

In a memorandum issued to Miami-Dade Aviation Director Emilio Gonzalez on October 30, Mayor Gimenez said that he had decided to make “certain strategic changes in the operation of the landside business opera-tions structure and management oversight.”

Gimenez announced that effective immediately, one of his top aides, Leland Salomon, will supervise the leasing and purchasing functions of the airport, reporting directly to the mayor.

“All procurement related agenda items relating to Miami Dade Aviation Department shall require the recommendation of the Chief Procurement Officer for the Internal Services Department (ISD) and the Mayor’s Special Assistant for MDAD Landside Business Operations before being presented to the Board of County Commissioners (BCC) for final approval. There will be no exceptions.” [underline in original document]

Under the section entitled “Organizational Changes,” the memo says: “As my Special Assistant, Leland will provide management oversight for all action items involving MDAD’s Airport Con-cession Business Development, Real Estate Management and Development, and Hospitality and Transportation Services.

Gimenez’s MIA reorganization also calls for ending bidding out individual retail and restaurant spaces, to be replaced by a master concessionaire system. These master concessionaires would be responsible for subleasing space without county involvement.



Within the next three months, the Mayor’s Procurement Manager will issue a Request for Qualifications for developers or commercial manager concessionaire(s). A Request for Proposals (RFP) will be sent immediately after to those developers who are qualified, for Terminals E (and E Satellite), F and G (Central Terminal) and H and J (South Terminal at MIA.

A second solicitation will be issued from those qualified through the RFQ process for Terminal D (North Terminal), since the concession contracts there do not expire until 2024.

This process will allow “sufficient time for transition” before the contracts expire, says Gimenez.

The memo also says that a separate simplified solicitation shall be issued every 12 months for pop-up business ventures in Terminals D, E, F, G, H and J.

These contacts will be for two-year terms. The memo spells out addi-tional details.


Retailers request hurricane rent break

The reorganization reportedly follows discontent among certain airport concessionaires who are complaining of lower passenger numbers. In the latest clash, MIA’s concessionaires asked for a year-long break in their MAG payments through 2018 to recover revenue lost from Hurricane Irma. The airport was closed or offered reduced operations for about 5.5 days during and following Hurricane Irma in September, and with lower overall traffic for the month, some concessionaires estimated their sales could be down as much as 30%.

The mayor’s office, after reviewing all documentation, denied the concessionaire’s request to waive their minimum rent requirements for a year. Instead, his office calculated the percentage of operational impact on all concessionaires, and agreed to credit the MAG payments for those days. The refund equals about $1.1 million.

According to an article in the Miami Herald on Nov. 1, the Hurricane Irma shutdown is just the latest tension between the airport operators and the concessionaires.

Companies such as Newslink, among others, are complaining that American Airlines has decreased layovers, shortening the time that passengers have to shop, a situation that has also cut into sales.

Traffic for all of September was also down significantly as bad weather swept the region.


MIA Director González resigns

Emilio González – who has been considered a superb manager over his four years at the helm of MIA – announced that he will be resigning as director and CEO of the Miami-Dade Aviation Department on Feb. 1, 2018. He submitted his resig-nation on Nov. 1.

González led the completion of MIA’s $6.5 billion capital improve-ment program and transformed the airport into a global gateway.

He insists that his resignation is completely separate from the reorganization announced by Mayor Gimenez.