2020 was a year in which the development of many (although not all) airports came to a sudden stop, with CAPEX being replaced in the pecking order by open in most cases – and in many, simply by survival measures.
Along with that everlasting hiatus came a cull of airport investment and privatization activities, again with a few notable exceptions, mainly in countries where multiple concession procedures were already well advanced.
Over two parts this report details the few deals which were done in 2020, some that were abandoned or suspended, and those airports which have emerged – or may emerge – as future investment opportunities, assuming that the much-desired ‘post-COVID recovery period’ actually takes place this year.
It says a lot that the last time airport privatization was considered in any detail by CAPA (in the Sep-2018 research publication ‘Airport Finance & Privatisation Review 2018’), that report ran to 186 pages. This one will be lucky to make 30.
The CAPA Global Airport Investors Database contains comprehensive details on all the investing firms mentioned here, while the Airport Construction Database is the go-to resource for all airport construction and CAPEX data and news.
- As 2021 begins, it is a case of much of the same for the pandemic and its destruction of the air transport business.
- In a handful of countries, such as Brazil and Japan, established airport concession procedures continued in 2020, but Brazil’s is coming to its natural end now.
- In India, there has been a resurgence of interest by the government, and another tranche of concessions was announced at the turn of the year.
- In both Indonesia and the Philippines investor opportunities in the sector could pick up again in 2021, but in the latter country, there may simply be too many airports around Manila for them all to be profitable.
- In Europe, apart from the finalization of the Sofia Airport concession deal, much of the limited privatization activity has been at secondary and tertiary level airports, and most of that was at the beginning of the year.
- On the other hand, deals remain to be completed in Greece and Montenegro, the private sector might get a belated look-in at Berlin, and there might be opportunities in Poland. Question marks remain about the privatization of Groupe ADP.