Airlines request consensus before the Aena privatisation

TUI aircraft in Lanzarote airport / Fotolia

On October 21 the Government’s Consulting Council of Privatisation—CCP—published a report which confirmed the fact that they are now open to privatise Aena by 60% as we had anticipated. informed that the Council of Ministers shall approve a Royal Decree to authorise the privatisation process of Aena Aeropuertos

Aena Aeropuertos to be split in three parts
The first part would be a stable nucleus with a group of leading shareholders made up of 3 to 5 investors, to purchase shares by between 20% and 30% of the Capital Stock. Each investor would have an individual share between 5% and 10%. Amongst other requirements, these investors would have a commitment period in which they would keep the investment and would not acquire more shares.

The second part would be the result of an initial public offering (IPO). The percentage of the company to be sold this way would be big enough for the overall shares—including the stable nucleus—to be as much as 60%, but no more.

And finally the Government would keep the remainder of Aena Aeropuertos i.e. 40%.

In the following link you can find the full CCP’s report in Spanish.

After this, many articles have been published in the Spanish media on the Aena privatisation. For example, this morning Hosteltur informed that the Canary and the Balearic Islands are totally against this privatisation process. Thus, the president of the Association of Hoteliers in the Balearic Islands said “the commercial strategy and the charging structure good for the destination might be not so good for the private company”.

It is important to keep in mind that both the Canaries and the Balearics have important public subventions to their residents with the aim of improving connectivity: 15% to flights with the mainland and 70% to interisland flights. For further information on the current discounts in the Canaries you can read our post. 

Also El País published a wide article about the current situation of this procedure. In an interview with Javier Gándara—General Director for easyJet in Spain—he said that the Government wants to find financial instead of industrial investors aiming to keep the control of the company no matter they sell the major part of it.

Airlines request consensus
Yesterday, the Spanish Association of Airlines—ALA— published a communiqué. “The current disagreement between the Government and the other political parties and also between unions and employers regarding the Aena privatisation might be a new reason for uncertainty in the Spanish aviation industry”. In their view, such an important decision on a key sector like this requires a big agreement. Thus, airlines request consensus before facing the privatisation.

“We believe in the private management of any activity but cannot forget the fact that the airports are natural monopolies which could lead to limit the competition”. Therefore it is essential for the airlines to know the “rules of the game” in order to fix strategies for the future.

According to ALA, considering that most of the Spanish airports are not profitable, airlines would not only have to generate profit margin for the investors, but would have to pay for the non profitable airports as well.

Hence, ALA said that “if to privatise is not the same thing as to sell, we believe the Aena privatisation must wait until the details are clearly explained. The Air Transport is a key to the integration of the national territory and that’s why it must be discussed until an agreement is found”.