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Adapting airports to the new situation

| News | Public and Regulatory Law

Given the situation of the airports due to the pandemic, In La Razón Miguel Nieto explains that closing an airport is very expensive and that, since the airport network is already designed, the terminals should be used instead

The pandemic has almost wiped-out traffic at large airports such as Barajas and El Prat, but it has been most devastating at regional airports, which have been turned into ghost terminals. But these installations were already coming before the unprecedented crisis that air transport is now experiencing in a very precarious situation, with very few passengers. What the virus has done is accentuate it and put them in a very delicate situation for the immediate future. Are some of them left over? Should they be closed? Most experts do not think so because, although ghostly, these airports are also very profitable for Aena's accounts.

Aena has always defended that the strength of its business model is its network. However, more than the network itself, what brings value to the company is the management of the extensive portfolio of airports it operates. "Aena's management capacity gives it a lot of international power. It awards it many points in international tenders because it has a management capacity that few competitors have," explains Miguel Nieto, a partner at Andersen who worked on the coordination of the modernisation by the airport manager.

But closing an airport could end up being a worse remedy than the disease. "Closing an airport is very expensive," Nieto warns. A lot of contracts would have to be cancelled, compensation would have to be paid and amortisation would have to be studied.

In large cities, connectivity is not a problem because they are important communication nodes for all means of transport. But in small or medium sized cities, it is another story. "When I worked at Adif, a mayor told me that if we closed the train station, we would wipe him off the map. And that is something that stuck with me," recalls Nieto. Perhaps, the Andersen partner says, there are other cheaper ways of connecting. But that debate, he says, should have been done before designing the airport network. Now that you have the terminals, it is up to you to take advantage of them.

You can read the full article in La Razón.

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