Spain's Infrastructure Minister Ana Mato stated (23-Jan-2012) the new government (which took power in Nov-2011) has suspended plans to privatise Madrid Barajas and Barcelona El Prat airports after failing to receive satisfactory offers from interested companies. Spain's previous administration had an initial asking price of EUR3.7 billion for Madrid Barajas and EUR1.6 billion for Barcelona El Prat, and was seeking 20% of annual income over 20 years. Ms Mato said that in addition to difficulties arising from the current economic climate, privatisation would also weaken the position of AENA and create unnecessary competition between the two airports. Ms Mato said the new conservative government was working on its own model of airport management. She added the new model would take into account the autonomous communities in the planning of future airports. [more - original PR - Spanish]
Spain halts Madrid Barjas and Barcelon El Prat airport privatisations; to introduce new mgt model
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AENA: Spain's airport operator must cut charges, but airline yields are already falling
After much delay, in late Jan-2017 the Spanish Council of Ministers approved the airport regulation document setting AENA's airport charges for the next five years. The headline numbers include a 2.2% annual decline in charges from 2017 to 2021, equivalent to an overall cut of 11% through the period.
The legal framework prevents tariff increases before 2025, but the outcome was in contrast with the Spanish airport group's own proposal to freeze charges. Strong traffic growth of 11% to an all time high level of 230 million passengers in 2016 may have influenced the regulator's decision.
In response, AENA has decided to remove an incentive mechanism which rewards airlines for traffic growth with airport charge discounts. The removal of discounts is estimated to offset the 11% reduction by one third.
In fact, this discount scheme has been quite effective in stimulating traffic growth in recent years. However, traffic growth in Spain was also boosted in 2016 by high airline capacity growth switched from other (risk) markets. Airline yield declines are probably noticeably heavier than AENA's regulated price reduction.
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