One of the world’s largest and most diverse airport operators, France’s Vinci Airports, has reported that passenger traffic numbers grew by 12.4% in 2017 to a total of 156.6 million with increases recorded in every country in which it operates. 148.9 million of them were hosted in the airports that Vinci held on 01-Jan-2017. The greatest growth, 25.1% was recorded in Cambodia, which is a longstanding country of investment for Vinci, followed by a hefty 16.5% rise in Portugal, a more recent one.
In total Vinci has interests in 33 airports and is regarded as a ‘major global investor’ in the CAPA Global Airport Investor Database.
The figures are skewed by the fact that Vinci only started operating Salvador Airport in Brazil on 02-Jan-2018 while it is the 2017 statistics that are recorded here; i.e. Vinci did not directly influence that result. On the other hand Vinci is known for its proactive approach to traffic development.
In its home country Vinci’s participation in airports is mainly in the form of management contracts though it does have a direct investment, at Lyon Exupéry Airport, where it holds 60% of the equity in a consortium with Caisse des Dépôts and Crédit Agricole Assurances.
French traffic rose by 10.1% in 4Q2017, with strong demand recorded particularly in western France, impacting on Nantes Atlantique Airport. However, Nantes has proven to be a disappointment to Vinci in other ways. Within the last week a decision was taken to begin a EUR450 million expansion of the Atlantique Airport together with the development of an interconnected air/rail system linking the Greater Western region to Paris, rather than to commission the new Notre-Dame-des-Landes airport, which Vinci would have built and operated on a 55-year concession.
The government aims to outline an agreement with Vinci “as soon as possible” regarding compensation entitlements following this definitive rejection of the new airport.
Elsewhere, there is better news for Vinci. At the beginning of Jan-2018 it was selected as the preferred bidder for the 25-year concession of Belgrade’s Nikola Tesla Airport by the Serbian Government. The concession, expected to be signed in 1Q2018, covers financing, operation, maintenance, extension and upgrade of the existing airport terminal and runways.
Vinci would take over operation of the facility by the end of 2018, following financial closure. Sticking with its principles on traffic development Vinci said it will “aim at improving airport operating conditions to enable Air Serbia to offer new long-haul routes” and build on other airline partnerships to improve connectivity. Vinci will also reorganise and optimise passenger flows and expand retail areas.
However, the government also expect the construction of what it called “an alternative runway” and expansion of the terminals. Vinci will pay EUR501 million for the concession plus an annual fee between EUR4.5 million and EUR16 million. It has committed to retaining all the employees, with no lay-offs.
In Africa, Vinci, through its ANA Airports of Portugal subsidiary signed an MoU in Oct-2017 with Cape Verde’s Minister of Finance to conduct a study to assert the best management model for Aeroportos e Seguranca Aerea (ASA) and Cape Verde airports. The principle issue there is lack of financing, a similar one to that of national airline TACV, which is now effectively being managed by Icelandair. There is no suggestion at this stage that a privatisation of all or part of ASA is in the offing.
Where does Vinci stand in the ‘pecking order’ of investors? FIND OUT in this CAPA – Centre for Aviation report: Airport Investment: the top 10 investors from CAPA’s global airport investors database