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VINCI Airports takes on Brazil’s Manaus Airport; lays down environmental objectives

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The Brazilian airport concessions, now in their sixth and seventh tranches, are down to the nitty-gritty. Small regional airports where even the signature one of the block, the ‘anchor’, is not exactly impressive by international standards.

Indeed, it is sometimes difficult to figure out just what the attraction of some of these blocks was to international investors and operators. Most observers expected interest mainly from Brazilian companies acting in consortiums, and those are the organisations who were winning bidders elsewhere.

Such is the case with the block of seven airports in the northwest of the country that was concessioned to France’s VINCI Airports in Apr-2021. Even Manaus Eduardo Gomes Airport is not in the same league as Salvador Airport, which it took under its wing in 2017, being less than half its size by passenger numbers in 2019.

But it is sometimes the case that an investor can unearth a ‘gem’ – an airport that has underperformed, given its location, the size of the city-region’s population, its commercial gravitas, tourism appeal perhaps, and potential passenger and freight demand.

Taking over the Manaus airport now is probably the best VINCI could have hoped for during these last two years of immense disruption, and the airport does have the potential to be a ‘gem’.

Henceforth VINCI has a great deal of work to do realise that potential, while remaining aware of environmental obligations: these airports are, after all, situated in the Amazonian rainforest.

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