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Despite labour shortages across airports in Europe, Spanish operator Aena doubled its net profit as passenger traffic returned to pre-pandemic levels.

Spanish airport operator Aena’s first-half net profit more than doubled as passenger traffic returned to pre-pandemic levels and its revenues from retail sales rose.

The company said on Wednesday it made a net profit of 608 million euros ($673 million) compared with 277 million euros ($307 million) in the same period last year.

Some 144 million passengers passed through its terminals in the first six months of 2023, 5% more than in the same period in 2019, before the pandemic ravaged the travel industry in 2020.

Total commercial revenues reached 715.3 million euros ($791 million), 29% more than in the first half of 2022, it added.

Aena renewed its duty-free shop contracts at all of Spain’s airports in the period. The deals are set to increase retail revenues by 16.3% for the full year, it said.

On Tuesday, the company confirmed that Swiss duty-free retailer Dufry had won the contract to continue operating shops at Spain’s biggest airports in Madrid and Barcelona. The shops account for 44% of the Spanish airport operator’s total commercial revenue.

In the first six months of 2023, sales at duty-free shops were 13.5% higher than in 2019, as passenger numbers recovered.

The airport operator, unlike its peers, retained staff during the pandemic, which should allow it to fully benefit from the surge in consumer demand for travel this year.

Aena’s board of directors decided earlier this week to increase its per-passenger charges by 4% from March 2024 to cover higher costs due to inflation and electricity prices.

(Reporting by Corina Pons Editing by David Latona and Mark Potter)


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Tags: Aena, airports, spain, tourism

Photo credit: Passengers transferring through Madrid Airport. Source: Unsplash John Oswald / Unsplash

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