Coriport is a special-purpose company that won an international public tender to build and operate the new passenger terminal of the Daniel Oduber Quirós International Airport (“AIDOQ”) in Liberia, Guanacaste province. AIDOQ is the second largest international airport in Costa Rica and is strategically located in an area with much tourism and other economic activities. Coriport is composed of two well-known and experienced firms in the international aeronautics sector: ADC & HAS, from the US, and MMM Aviation Group S.A., from Canada, as well as a number of prestigious local and international minority investors.
The basis for this new IIC operation is Coriport’s need to move up by two years the timetable for the capital investments needed for certain construction projects and equipment for the terminal, as well as expansion of the main boarding gates. This will be achieved mainly through refinancing of financial liabilities to slightly extend the term for maturity of the initial loans, although it will remain within the period approved in the concession agreement.
These investments will enable Coriport to serve between 45% and 60% more passengers during the high season months, but especially during peak traffic times for international flights, which generally tend to be concentrated in specific periods of a few hours each day A large majority (95%) of the flights that land in Liberia come from airports that operate as international hubs, which limits the airport’s flexibility as far as being able to space out the arrivals and departures of flights to and from the airport.
Another of the IIC’s objectives for this new operation—this objective a long-term one—is to consolidate the recovery and growth of the tourism sector in Guanacaste as a destination in Latin America. The coming years are expected to see the opening of at least 4,000 high-end hotel rooms in AIDOQ’s area of influence. These hotels will continue to invest and create jobs in rural areas that are relatively remote from the traditional opportunities that can be found more easily in the urban areas of the country.
Environmental and Labor Issues:
The project consists of providing better service to passengers; raising the already-high safety standards of the current fire protection system; updating and adapting the terminal’s current wastewater treatment plant to treat the wastewater from airplanes (blue water) that will be discharged at the airport; implementing an energy efficiency program to save energy; installing a new X-ray system to bring it in line with international airport baggage and passenger scanning and security standards; and replacing the technology platforms and equipment for reservation services at the check-in counters to speed the check-in and baggage check process.
This is a category B project according to the IIC’s Environmental and Social Sustainability Policy because the above-mentioned activities could produce certain socio-environmental effects and risks that are short-term and very localized, typical for this kind of infrastructure construction. These effects and risks can be avoided or mitigated by following industry-standard performance rules, guidelines, good practices, and design criteria that are standard for the industry, which are well-known and easy to implement.
The main environmental and social considerations that should be taken into account during the construction and operation phases of the project include: handling of solid waste and wastewater; efficient use of resources; occupational safety and health issues; and management of labor and social issues.
Handling of Solid Waste and Wastewater: The project is not expected to produce large amounts of domestic waste, construction waste/rubble, or hazardous waste. Nevertheless, Coriport will implement an appropriate plan for handling solid waste to prevent any impact on the environment or the community. Coriport currently has high standards for handling, transporting, and disposing of all types of solid waste; it does so through contractors certified to handle each type of waste and ensure that it is disposed of in locations authorized by the corresponding local authorities. For wastewater handling, Coriport will put significant emphasis on the implementation of an appropriate plan for treating the wastewater from airplanes that will be discharged at the terminal. Nevertheless, Coriport already has a high-tech wastewater treatment plant that will enable it to add the blue water treatment process with little difficulty.
Occupational Health and Safety: For its current operations, Coriport has already developed a solid and detailed occupational safety and health plan that includes rules and procedures, training activities, drills, and improvements for both construction and operational activities. In this way, the project will join an existing system for managing occupational safety and health issues. It is very important to highlight that one of the project’s components will be focused on increasing safety standards for the terminal’s current fire protection system by coating the piping containing the terminal’s electrical wiring.
Efficient Use of Resources: The project will include pertinent measures for reducing water and energy consumption during the construction and operation phases. Coriport currently has a high-tech water treatment plant that enables it to use the treated water to water the terminal’s green areas. Currently, both the water for the firefighting system and the potable water is stored and properly monitored in tanks built for that purpose. Consequently, although it will not use large volumes of water, the project will follow all the procedures necessary for making efficient use of this resource during the construction and operation stages.
As far as energy use, part of the power consumed by the terminal currently is used for air conditioning. For this reason, as a pertinent and effective measure to improve power use efficiency, the project includes an energy efficiency component that will help lower energy consumption. This component will help identify all the actions that must be taken to decrease energy consumption.
Labor and Social Issues: The project will comply with Costa Rican labor law, as well as the guidelines of the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the international good practices contained in the International Finance Corporation’s (IFC) Performance Standard 2 (Labor and Working Conditions). Also, Coriport will continue to implement its community participation mechanisms and its mechanisms for addressing complaints and grievances during the project’s construction and operation stages.
Evaluation and Management of Environmental and Social Risks and Impact: Coriport holds ISO 14001 and ISO 9001 certifications in order to comply with international standards on environmental issues and quality, respectively. This has enabled Coriport to have its current strong integrated environmental, social, and occupational health and safety management system. This system focuses on identifying risks and impact, as well as the oversight and mitigation measures, actions, and plans during the planning, design and construction, and operational phases of each of its activities. Coriport is also in the process of obtaining the local Bandera Azul Ecológica certification, a distinction that rewards companies in Costa Rica for their efforts and volunteer work in the search for opportunities to preserve and protect natural resources, actions to address climate change, and the identification of optimal health and sanitary conditions for the community. Finally, the IIC will support Coriport with technical assistance to establish the conditions, requirements, and possible costs of a future project to obtain a carbon neutral certification. The project would include an inventory of greenhouse gas emissions for which the company could demonstrate carbon neutrality.
Monitoring and Reporting: At the IIC’s request, Coriport will incorporate the project into its integrated environmental, social, and occupational safety and health system, which complies with IFC Performance Standard 1 (Assessment and Management of Environmental and Social Risks and Impacts), which addresses the following elements: policy, identification of risks and impacts, organizational capacity and competency, emergency preparedness and response, stakeholder engagement, and monitoring review. This system will ensure compliance with the IIC’s environmental and occupational health and safety requirements.
Coriport will comply with the implementation of the actions stipulated in the corresponding Environmental and Social Action Plan (ESAP) developed specifically for the project and agreed upon with the IIC. Additionally, Coriport will submit annual monitoring reports to the IIC to verify compliance with the socio-environmental aspects of project implementation.