GAP and OMA gain altitude despite traffic falls, ACI Europe sees squeeze – SHARE WRAP

Shares in Mexico’s Grupo Aeroportuario del Centro Norte (OMA) and Grupo Aeroportuario del Pacifico (GAP) rose 2.5% and 3.5% yesterday, respectively, despite the airport groups recording 22.5% and 20.4% falls in passenger numbers last month.

Meanwhile, ACI-Europe reports (08-Apr-09) passenger numbers at its member airports sank 13.6% in Feb-2009, while cargo volumes plunged 23.5%. Aircraft movements also fell 13.2%. Accumulated passenger traffic for the first two months of 2009 fell 12.2% year-on-year, while freight was down 23.7% and movements fell 11.7%.

Director General, Olivier Jankovec, commented, “the double-whammy  of falling aviation and commercial revenues is hitting Europe’s airports more and more severely with each passing month. On top of that, the capital-intensive nature of airports means that we are also being squeezed by the ongoing paralysis in capital markets". He added the “unjustifiable” proposal to suspend the use-it-or-lose-it rule on airport slots will “only make matters worse for congested hubs and regional airports alike”. Mr Jankovec concluded, “this is nothing more than airports being forced to subsidise airlines for not flying”.

European airport stocks had a mixed day, with Zurich and Fraport down 1.2% and 0.3%, respectively, while Vienna, Hochtief and Ferrovial gained 0.8%, 2.5% and 4.9%, respectively.

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Selected airports daily share price movements (% change): 08-Apr-09