Spanish airports will recover traffic from before the pandemic in 2024, two years earlier than previously planned. The announcement was made this Wednesday by the president and CEO of Aena, Maurici Lucena, during the presentation of the company’s strategic plan for 2022-2026. The airport manager, world leader in infrastructure management by number of passengers, has advanced that the company will also increase its revenues and that it will go shopping abroad.

The head of Aena has explained during a presentation to analysts that Spanish airports will gradually recover the number of passengers lost during the covid. Thus, in 2026 the company expects to reach 300 million journeys, a record figure.

Aena will also distribute a dividend to its shareholders after the pandemic and, in this way, has advanced the payment of a pay-out of 80% of the profit. This represents an additional remuneration of 1.37 euros per share to what is paid in 2023 charged to this year. This calculation will be made in accordance with the accounts prior to the adjustment that the company had to make as a result of the so-called Aena amendment, which forced it to lower the rental contracts for premises at airports.

Lucena has stated that Aena’s forecasts suggest that commercial revenues will increase this year by 23% compared to 2019 and that revenues per passenger will grow by 12%. Along with this, he has stated that they estimate that during 2023 inflation will remain high and that it will begin to enter into reasonable terms in 2024, which, in his opinion, will contribute to these good expectations that the company has set.

Aena ultima, as highlighted by Lucena, the world’s largest competition for duty-free shops, a tender that will be published in October next year. In 2023, the 300 catering stores at the Adolfo Su├írez-Madrid Barajas airport will also be tendered, operations that will mark the short-term future of the company, Lucena added.

In the international area, Aena’s goal in the coming year is to consolidate assets outside of Spain. The plan calls for these foreign assets to represent 10% of ebitda in 2026, including the Sao Paulo (Congonhas) airport.

Lucena has painted this ambitious plan for the future before analysts, with “greater activity and higher commercial income” as the coming months progress. Aena, she has explained, will be attentive “to the business activities that arise based on the margins of the airports”. She has mentioned the airport cities of Madrid or Barcelona and has added that the objective is “to grow outside of Spain in a very selective way” and that she has contemplated a “very strong investment plan in Dora 3”. Lucena has also assumed that this horizon is marked by “prudence” and that it could be improved depending on how the war in Ukraine evolves and the economic situation.