November 30, 2021

Cayman Islands Owen Roberts Airport sets June RFP deadline

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The Airport Authority of Cayman Islands (CIAA) has released details of its anticipated commercial tender at Owen Roberts International Airport (ORIA).

In RFP documents seen by TRBusiness, CIAA is inviting proposals to develop and operate in-terminal concessions across 16,003 sq ft of space at the airport’s remodelled terminal.

This includes 5,001 sq ft of core duty free/duty paid space, 1,852 sqft of retail space, and 9,150 sq ft of F&B space.

A total of 18 units are being made available in the tender, which require individual applications. Leases will not exceed 10 years for F&B units and seven years for retail and duty free/duty paid units.

An additional duty free unit located in the customers arrivals hall has also been made available, but this has not be factored into this RFP at this time, notes the CIAA.

The deadline for bid submissions is 4pm on 30 June, with CIAA intended to approve and award the concessions in August.


A total of seven duty free/duty paid units have been made available for prospective bidders spanning liquor, spirits and tobacco (1,192sq ft); jewellery, watches and gifts (715sq ft), fashion apparel and accessories (982 sq ft); fragrances and cosmetics (754 sq ft); gourmet gift foods and confection (821 sq ft); liquor and spirits (268 sq ft); and jewellery and watches (269 sq ft).

All units are estimated to open in December 2018.

CIAA says the target market is international passengers, with proposers required to offer a mix of “high-end and high-demand goods”.

In addition to duty free items, bidders are encouraged to sell duty paid merchandise while maximising design aesthetics akin to high-end department stores such as Bloomingdales and Bergdorf Goodman.

The CIAA notes: “Duty Free/duty paid shops will provide passengers with a wide range of merchandise. Merchandise sold must be selected to appeal specifically to the nationalities of the passengers flying out of the terminal. Proposer must demonstrate its understanding and application of this principle. In addition, local and regional products could be sold as well.”

As reported, CIAA last year announced plans to issue an open tender for all its retail space alongside an airport expansion and redevelopment project at ORIA.

Bidders are entitled to make separate offers for as many units as they choose, however, all participants are restricted to operating a maximum of three concessions each and no more than one in each of the F&B, retail and duty free categories.

CIAA also notes that proposers “may not win spaces that are similar in concept or product mix”.

Fees will be based on the greater of either the percentage rent or minimum annual guarantee.


According to the leasing document, this equates to either 85% of the concession fee due to CIAA during the previous 12 months or the MAG of the 12-month period just ended.

The MAG for any given year will not be less than than the previous year, the document states.

CIAA also states that it will not collect a MAG during the first full year of operations; instead tenants’ rent will consist of a percentage fee only.

The MAG will begin in the second year of operation, with the first adjustment of the MAG made 12 months after the one-year anniversary of the commencement date.

Proposers will require a minimum of at least three consecutive years within the past 10 years in the following areas: development, design, financing, construction and management of one or more retail operations in a shopping centre or transportation facilities, says the CIAA.

Businesses licensed to trade in the Cayman Islands are eligible to submit a tender, with those that are 60% or more Caymanian owned receiving points in the process, the CIAA had previously stated.

Selected proposers will be required to commit to an initial capital expenditure to develop the area(s), with the airport authority stating that a “significant level of expenditure” is necessary to create a location emphasising a high-quality commercial standard, and one that integrates the concession design aesthetically, functionally and operationally within the overall terminal design.

Evaluation criteria will include experience and qualifications (20%), management, staffing and operations including customer service (20%); facilities and design investment (15%); concept vision (15%); financial capacity (10%); local experience (10% and 4% for Caymanian owned and controlled businesses); and the financial proposal evaluated on MAG (10%).


The RFP document adds: “The Authority’s objective is to meet the expectations of today’s and tomorrow’s travelling public with a contemporary concession programme that will provide the highest level of guest satisfaction through innovative and desirable concepts and the greatest return to the airport in the way of concession fees.

“This includes implementing a concession plan that provides an assortment of local, regional, national and international concepts and products, first-class service and good value to ORIA passengers and all other airport users.”

As part of the redevelopment plans, which are expected to be completed in phases over the coming years, ORIA’s new terminal will feature a two-floor layout with departures, arrivals, baggage claim, ticketing and security screening on the ground floor, with administrative offices on the second floor.

A landside retail shop and arrivals duty free will be made available first, followed by concession spaces in the departures hall including the main dining hall, two retail stores, a gift store and departure level beverage bar in June 2018.

The final phase of work is slated for December 2018 to include the seven duty free spaces and an upper level restaurant and landside restaurant adjacent to the security screening checkpoint.

All concessions, with the exception of a post-security second level restaurant, will be situated on the ground floor.

Serving as the main international airport for the Cayman Islands, ORIA handled approximately 552,279 passengers in 2016, fuelled predominantly by the tourism segment.

The largest inbound traffic source was from North America, which accounts for roughly 78% of arrivals traffic.

For further information on the RFP, contact [email protected]


Cayman Departing PAXCayman
ORIA served approximately 553,000 PAX in 2016. Click to enlarge. Source: Airport Authority of Cayman Islands.ORIA How the remodelled terminal at Owen Roberts International Airport could look when complete.
Concession layout A map of the concession planning programme at Owen Roberts International Airport. Source: Airport Authority of Cayman Islands.
Concession2 Click to enlarge. Source: Airport Authority of Cayman Islands.
Concession1 Concession bids should be proposed individually, with proposers restricted to operating three spaces in total. Click to enlarge. Source: Airport Authority of Cayman Islands.

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