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Aena begins the year with a strategic review and in search of a new traffic record

The volume of travelers in the airport network grows by 10.3% compared to January 2023, to 18.6 million

The president of Aena, Maurici Lucena, between the company’s vice president, Javier Marín, and the general director of Commercial and Real Estate, María José Cuenda.Carlos Muina

Aena’s financial management is finalizing the review of the company’s expectations until the end of 2026. The 18.6 million travelers registered at Spanish airports in January, with an increase of 10.3% compared to the same month in 2023, confirm that the activity has left the forecasts of two years ago outdated. Aena is therefore forced to update its strategic plan for the market.

This has been the best January in history for the airport manager, with a total of 165,909 operations (landings and takeoffs in Spain), 6% more than last year. The 91,752 tons of cargo managed, 23% over the tons declared in January 2023, also translate into the best start to the year in that segment.

Aena speaks this morning about the maintenance of the upward trend of much of the last year. The 283 million travelers declared in 2023 were already 2.9% above 2019 traffic and exceeded the 2022 figure by 16.2%.

Of the 18.6 million travelers in January, 12.1 million arrived or took off on international flights, while 6.4 million were recorded on domestic operations.

As is usual, Madrid-Barajas leads the table by passenger movement, with 4.8 million and an increase of 8.1% compared to January 2023. The improvement of Barcelona-El Prat is 13.9%, up the 3.5 million passengers; Málaga, with 1.3 million, grows 20%; Gran Canaria advances 7.2%, to 1.3 million, and Tenerife-Sur, among the top five, served 1.2 million users, with an increase of 10%.

Aena is going to increase fares by 4.09% on March 1, which translates into an average increase in the ticket by 40 cents. From the tariff debate comes the demand of the National Markets and Competition Commission (CNMC) regarding the updating of traffic estimates. The regulator estimates, based on projections from the European air control arbiter, Eurocontrol, that the Spanish airport network will reach 297 million travelers in 2024. Aena’s forecast, far exceeded by real demand, set 280.4 million users.

It is in this context that the company chaired by Maurici Lucena is preparing to present a new x-ray of the company and the business on March 7, when the tweaks to the 2022-2026 strategic plan will be announced. Aena sources frame the review of the document halfway through its execution as normal. In addition to the new perspectives on the recovery after the pandemic, the public will also have to give investors a clue about its dividend policy. During the presentation of the 2022-2026 plan, in November 2022, the listed company announced that it would recover the dividend and its intention to maintain a pay out (percentage of profit that is dedicated to remunerating shareholders) by 80%.

Another key will be the expected pace of recovery of EBITDA prior to the pandemic. Aena’s financial department hoped to regain the gross operating result achieved in 2019 between the years 2024 and 2025, which results in a reduction in the leverage ratio, which must stabilize at around twice the ebitda.

The future of the commercial business, the weight of the international business (a contribution of 10% of the EBITDA in 2026 was expected) or the start of the real estate plans and capacity expansions, will also be topics to be broken down during the aforementioned meeting scheduled with investors to March.

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Source: Cincodias

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