Aena updates its Strategic Plan 2022-2026 with strong pax, emissions targets

By Benedict Evans |

Aena Strategic Plan 2022-2026

“Efficiency will remain one of our hallmarks.” Maurici Lucena on Aena’s significant expenditure across security, cleaning and PRM assistance.

In an update of its Strategic Plan 2022-2026, Spanish airport operator Aena says it expects to exceed 300 million passengers in 2025, one year earlier than expected, and it has brought forward its ‘zero emissions’ target by a decade to 2030.

The presentation was led by Maurici Lucena, Chairman and CEO; Javier Marín, Executive Vice-chairman; Elena Mayoral, Airports Managing Director; and María José Cuenda, Commercial and Real Estate Managing Director.

Aena says the positive evolution of the economy and a faster- than-expected recovery in passenger traffic in 2022 meant pax surpassed the passenger record of 2019; last year Aena’s airports in Spain recorded 283 million passengers, 2.9% more than in 2019, and based on these figures it expects to lose 2024 with around 294 million passengers.

Aena

Aena says the positive evolution of the economy and a faster- than-expected recovery in passenger traffic in 2022 meant pax surpassed the passenger record of 2019; last year Aena’s airports in Spain recorded 283 million passengers, 2.9% more than in 2019, and based on these figures it expects to lose 2024 with around 294 million passengers.

 

In 2026, at the end of the Plan period, Aena expects to reach a figure of approximately 310 million passengers, which works out at more than one million daily passengers worldwide.

This strong upturn in traffic is likely to require more investment in infrastructure, a consideration Aena says it has already taken, with future proposals between 2027-2031 set to double those made in recent years.

Zero emissions

“Aena’s commitment to sustainability is non-negotiable and is a transversal factor in our strategic framework, as evidenced by the fact that every year we report to the Shareholders’ Meeting on our Climate Action Plan,” said Lucena.

In its Climate Action Plan, Aena had already established a target of net zero emissions by 2040, and says its latest revision to 2030 is reflective of the global commitment of the sector and the need for balance following a strong upturn in traffic.

Aena

Another target along the path to decarbonisation is for a total of 19 airports in the Spanish network to have ACA (Airport Carbon Accreditation) level 4+ certifications by 2026, rising to level 5 in 2030.

With regards to energy, Aena has developed its Strategic Electricity Plan (P3E), which combines sustainability, efficiency and risk mitigation.

To date, 100% of the energy consumed by its airports is of renewable origin.

Commercial revenue

“As for commercial and real estate activity in Spain, 2023 has been excellent, not only in terms of income, but also in terms of the results of the tenders, which set the conditions for a significant growth in future rents,” summarised Maurici Lucena.

Aena has predicted its commercial revenue could grow by as much as 48% in 2026 compared with 2019, with commercial revenue per passenger potentially hitting 32% (up from 12%).

Aena did note in the presentation of the plan that in November 2022 it was calculated that it would rise by 23%.

Aena has also completed the tenders of the main business lines: duty-free shops were awarded in their entirety; food and beverage (F&B), with 80 awards during 2022 and 2023; and shops, with 200 tenders awards.

Aena

The company says it is developing new concepts to attract new commercial operators to the airports, which is reflected in a significant increase in participation in recent tenders.

As a result of these tenders, the Minimum Annual Guaranteed (MAG) rents increased by 20% in 2023 compared with 2019 and are expected to increase further to 46% in 2026.

With regard to real estate activity, 2023 revenue was up more than 34% when compared to 2019.

The main projects in this field are centred on Adolfo Suárez Madrid-Barajas Airport (25% of the surface area associated with the Madrid Airport City will have been awarded by 2026) and Josep Tarradellas Barcelona-El Prat Airport (whose Airport City is linked to the Airport’s hub development project).

EBITDA

Aena notes the positive performance of the business up to 2026 will be reflected in the company’s main economic figures, with the EBITDA margin maintained at 59%.

“Efficiency will remain one of our hallmarks,” said Maurici Lucena, commenting on Aena’s significant expenditure across security, cleaning and PRM assistance.

Security has been contracted until 2028, cleaning until 2026 at the Adolfo Suárez Madrid-Barajas and Josep Tarradellas Barcelona-El Prat airports, and the PRM assistance service has been contracted until 2026 at 22 airports in the network.

Furthermore, Aena hopes the allocation of the new handling licences will enhance the sustainability and competitiveness of its  airports in Spain over the next seven years, with a significant increase planned for its electric and sustainable fleets.

Aena noted it will also maintain its dividend policy, which consists of an 80% pay-out.

International development

Aena says it continues to aim for international business to account for 15% of EBITDA in 2026, and in total, Aena already now manages 20% of Brazil’s airport traffic.
Aena

Its priority objective for the period is the consolidation of the current international assets and achievement of their business plans. At London-Luton Airport, government authorisation has been obtained to increase capacity from 18 to 19 million passengers per year.

In Brazil, the mandatory investments in the six Northeast airports have been completed and, during the last quarter of 2023, Aena took control of what is known as the Block of Eleven Airports of Brazil (BOAB), including Congonhas, in Sao Paulo, the airport with the second highest passenger traffic in Brazil.

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