Cuba has chosen French firms Bouygues Bâtiment and Aeroports de París to modernize and run two airports as tourist traffic grows.

The companies will operate José Martí international airport in Havana and the San Antonio de los Baños aerodrome as concessionaires, Granma, the newspaper of Cuba's communist party, reported.

A key priority is improving José Martí airport's terminal No. 3, which handles about half of all international passengers, Eduardo Rodríguez Dávila, vice minister of transport, was reported as saying.

No project details or investment amounts have been disclosed as talks are ongoing, Granma said. The next steps involve signing a memorandum of understanding and drawing up contracts, which will be ready for inking in 2017, it added.

Some work will be carried out in the short-term, some in the medium-term, by 2020, and some in the long-term, by 2030, according to the paper.

Other airports, among them Varadero, Santa Clara, Holguín and Cayo Coco, may also be offered to the private sector.

"The decision of the government is to continue gradually establishing similar alliances at other airports in the country, ones that handle international flights, basically," the paper said.

More than 2mn people have visited the island this year and the country is on track for a record number of tourists, the Washington Post reported, citing state media. Commercial flights from the US are due to begin this month, it added.

Cuba-US relations have been thawing.


Source: BNamericas