Macquarie Airports surge, Mexican airports rise, Aeroports de Paris, Zurich and Vienna Airport lower

Macquarie Airports’ shares bounced back 5.3% yesterday and Australian Infrastructure Funds’ shares rose 2.9% as the Sydney ASX200 closed higher (+1.29%). Asia Pacific airport shares were mixed yesterday as preliminary figures released by the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA) showed a 14.8% year-on-year reduction in passenger numbers by its member airlines in May-2009.

A gloomy AAPA stated the figures “undermine any optimism that a recovery is already under way", adding, "we’re still seeing a deterioration in market conditions”.

European airport shares generally fell yesterday as European stock markets weakened. Airports that lost ground include Zurich Airport (-4.3%), Vienna Airport (-2.5%) and Fraport (-0.3%).

Mexican airport operators, ASUR, GAP and OMA’s shares rose 5.5%, 5.3%, and 3.0%, respectively. Investors seem hopeful the worst of the swine flu traffic decrease are over. IATA reports Mexican carriers saw their traffic fall almost 40% in May-2009. Overall, Latin American carriers saw their international traffic (RPKs) decline by 9.2% in May-2009 year-on-year, against a capacity increase of 0.2%, leading to a 6.7 ppts reduction in load factor to 64.7%.

Grim outlook

IATA estimates the global impact of swine flu on global travel patterns in May was a 1% drop in passenger traffic. IATA also joined AAPA in delivering a gloomy outlook, reinforcing that, “we may have hit bottom, but we are a long way from recovery”.

IATA warned, “even if we look beyond the crisis, it is difficult to see a return to business as usual. This crisis is re-shaping the industry. The burden cannot be placed on airlines alone”.

Director General, Giovanni Bisignani stated all partners in the value chain "must be prepared to change". Mr Bisignani again criticised airports and air navigation services providers for an estimated USD1.5 billion in cost increases. He stated, "it’s irresponsible in the best of times and a completely unacceptable abuse of monopoly position in a crisis".

Selected airports daily share price movements (% change): 25-Jun-09