SPAIN. Spain’s major airports company AENA today revealed details of its Strategic Plan 2018-2021, with nine major areas of action and investment.

Among the key focus sectors is retail, which has been the subject of much recent expansion and investment, much of it through core category duty free partner Dufry.

Facing the future: AENA senior management announce the new Strategic Plan in Madrid today.

AENA noted that this investment “has resulted in an increase in commercial income, [but] there are still some opportunities which have yet to be grasped.” It added: “To that end retail facilities at the main airports are to be redesigned and an action plan implemented to improve the current performance of the duty free shops.

“Plus, alongside the transformation in food & beverage services and car parks, the company is to further enhance speciality shops and develop the digitalisation platform which generates customer loyalty and guides passengers through airport facilities.”

The nine areas cover both Regulated Business (principally aeronautical activity) and Non-Regulated Business (retail, real estate and international operations).

The other priorities include:

*Expanding and tailoring capacity: Plans include expansion and remodelling of Adolfo Suárez Madrid-Barajas and Barcelona-El Prat airports, the latter with the additional development of Girona-Costa Brava, to meet growing traffic demand. The two projects together represent a total investment coming to more than €2,800 million

*Compliance with quality standards: AENA noted: “One of the company’s main challenges is delivering efficient and quality services which meet the high standards committed in the DORA [the plan covering 2017 to 2021].” To tackle this AENA has put in place monitoring of critical areas to passenger satisfaction (including cleaning, passenger assistance, security and comfort) and action points.

*Digital solutions and innovative technologies: Technological solutions to enhance the passenger experience while also streamlining processes to maximise capacity and cut costs.

*Minimisation of the environmental footprint: AENA said it is building environmental sustainability into its business model and decision making.

Retail will be a major focus of the nine-point plan.

*Developing a real estate offer. AENA owns land assets with “enormous development potential”, mainly at Adolfo Suárez Madrid-Barajas and Barcelona-El Prat airports. As a result, the company has kicked off implementation of a development model tailored to each of them which identifies logistics and aeronautical activity areas along with new hotel, commercial, office and business areas. The start of the partner selection process is scheduled for the second half of 2019.

*New impetus for international expansion to seize key opportunities has been identified as a priority. AENA said: “To keep on growing in this field it will consolidate and develop assets it already operates through the extension or renewal of concessions (Luton, Mexico and Colombia). It will also monitor on the emergence of opportunities for acquiring new assets in Latin America and Europe while exploring others which are attractive in areas such as Asia, the Middle East and North America.”

*Capital resource allocation: The plan aims to keep a tight rein on costs to ensure competitive fees. It also maintains a commitment to shareholders to distribute as dividends 80% of the annual individual net profit generated by the company over the next three years (2018, 2019 and 2020). The company said: “AENA has a robust business model in place with positive cash flow generation that is better than its peers and a very sound position given traffic slowdown in Europe. The outlook for the long term is very attractive in an industry which expects to double current traffic in 20 years and where the Spanish market maintains a good position.”

*People and talent: In terms of management, AENA said it is seeking out resources to support digital transformation, drive talent retention, enhance training for skills development and map out the best possible organisational structure.

*We’ll bring you more on AENA’s plans for expansion and investment soon.