The City of Phoenix (City) has been conducting an Airport Concessions Disparity Study (Study) to determine if Airport Concession Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (ACDBEs) “have an equal opportunity to compete for, and participate in the concessions opportunities at Phoenix Sky Harbor International (PHX),” according to its press office.
The results of the Study will be used by the City to administer an ACDBE program that ensures opportunities for eligible small businesses, meets federal regulatory requirements, and that is constitutional and legally defensible.
A recent Phoenix newspaper report confused the intention of the study says Julie Rodriguez, public information officer with PHX. “The reporter called it ‘set asides,’ but that wasn’t correct.” Paula Kucharz, business development manager, PHX added that, “the federal ACDBE Program prohibits commercial airports, including Sky Harbor, from using quotas or “set-asides” for ACDBE participation in airport concessions contracts.
For the next several months there will be community outreach to get input to be considered in the Study, said Rodriguez in mid-November, adding that officials were pleased that 65 people had attended two recent public hearings that month.
The study is a routine procedure says Kucharz. “This Disparity Study is being done because the data a disparity study provides can be used to assist airports in developing and administering a narrowly tailored ACDBE Program. Federal law requires that ACDBE programs at commercial airports be narrowly tailored and include businesses whose owners are socially and economically disadvantaged individuals, not just minority and woman owned businesses.”
It’s too early to speculate on what the results will be or what actions, if any, might need to be taken based on the results, says Kucharz.