Avinor’s board of directors has awarded the five-year contract, for air traffic control services at Ålesund and Kristiansand airport, to Spanish company Saerco.
Four bidders took part in the competition but Saerco won with the highest score on quality and lowest price, which entails annual savings of approximately NOK 15 million for Avinor.
Saerco currently operates control towers at several major airports in Spain and will commence operation of the control towers at Ålesund and Kristiansand airports from March 2020.
Anne Carine Tanum, chairman of Avinor, said: “Saerco was particularly good about environment and innovation. The company also has its own training facilities with a simulator used to optimise operations and conduct efficient training. It is also positive that Saerco has stated they will offer employment to current air traffic controllers through a business transfer.”
During the procurement process, Avinor discovered that a former manager and owner with Saerco was mentioned in Spanish media in connection with a corruption case in Spain between 2003 and 2009.
In order to clarify issues that could lead to rejection from the competition, several investigations were conducted by an external Spanish law firm, hired by Avinor, and Saerco itself, verifying that the individual no longer works within the company and is not a direct or indirect owner. In this case, there are no grounds for rejection.
Mr Tanum said: “Avinor has a zero-tolerance policy in relation to corruption. 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.”
She said the company will put an anti-corruption programme in place for 2019 and Mr Tanum believes Saerco is a well-qualified company that she is confident will provide good control tower services.
Avinor has been assisted by independent air navigation expertise and legal expertise on public procurement, as well as informing the Competition Authority. Avinor has also been in dialogue with the Norwegian National Security Authority, ensuring that the high safety standards in Norway are extended when selecting a new operator.
Providers of air navigation services in Norway are also subject to approval by the Civil Aviation Authority and must be appointed by the Ministry of Transport and Communications.
Feature by Avinor – Ålesund airport, Vigra