They built it. But fewer than expected came.

The investment of US $954 million in Brazil’s Viracopos airport has not gone as planned.

Shareholders of ABV SA, the consortium that in 2012 won the concession to operate the airport, have decided to hand back the keys and let the government re-tender the concession. The consortium bid US $2.2 billion for rights to operate the airport on a 30-year contract, and build a new terminal.

Located approximately 90 km from São Paulo, Viracopos international airport was expected to serve close to 18 million passengers in 2016, however, only 9.3 million travellers passed through its doors. As well, cargo movement was 60 percent less than expected.

ABV SA held 51 percent of the airport stake, with the remainder owned by Brazil’s airport authority Infraero.

ABV is comprised of Triunfo Participações and Brazilian builder UTC, each holding 45 percent of the stake, while France’s Egis Airport Operation owns 10 percent.

“The concession will be returned to the government and put up for auction again,” ABV spokeswoman Deyse Ribeiro said. “ABV believes re-tendering the concession is the best alternative to maintain the quality and continuity of the services for users.” ABV will continue to operate the airport until the new tender is complete.

Dufry signed a 10-year lease for commercial space in the airport in 2013. It was the first duty free operation for the airport.