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Thursday, June 1, 2023

Airports are very good business in Mexico, why?

Within the list of public companies in Mexico with the best margins, there is a fact that stands out, according to an analysis of whitepaper.mx.

In the top 5 are a real estate agency, an infrastructure developer, and the three airport groups operated by the private initiative.

This top is:

– Vesta Real Estate

– OMA (North Center Airport Group)

– ASUR (Southeast Airport Group)

– GAP (Pacific Airport Group)


$!Airports are very good business in Mexico, why?

In the country there are three airport groups operated by the private initiative: North Central Airport Group, Southeast Airport Group and Pacific Airport Groupand all three are in the top 5.

Which is the reason? What makes this business model so profitable for its shareholders?


In the mid-1990s there were 58 airports in Mexico and all were managed by HANDLE — a decentralized agency of the federal government.

Mexico was going through a stage of privatizations and airports were a natural candidate to pass them on to the private initiative, so 34 airports were distributed in three different groupsand would end up becoming the companies we know today as ASUR, GAP and OMA.

He International Airport of Mexico City (AICM) was left by its side, within a government-controlled company, and the other airports would continue to be the responsibility of HANDLE (Airports and Auxiliary Services).

The privatization process was divided into two phases.

First, an investor for each group was selected through a public bidding process.

Said investor was sold a 15% stake in the group’s capital (together with control and responsibility for managing the airports).

Then, for the second phase of the process, the rest of the shares would be offered in a IPO (Public Offering for Sale).

The new operators thus received a concession to operate their respective airports, and within each of the groups there was an ‘anchor’ airport: Cancun in ASUR, Guadalajara in GAP, and Monterrey in OMA.

ASUR would be under the control of Fernando Pardo Boy and of ADO group.

GAP is currently controlled by Laura Diez-Barroso Azcárraga, Eduardo Sanchez Navarro and Juan Gallardo Thurlow.

OMA is in the process of transition: until a few months ago david martinez exercised control of the group, but recently sold the controlling stake to Vincia French company specialized in managing public concessions (including airports).

That 15% participation to have control of ASUR cost investors the equivalent of $120 million dollars (in 1998); currently a 15% stake in ASUR is worth around 10 times that amount.

For its part, Vinci would have paid around $1,117 million dollars in exchange for 29.9% of OMA.


input, airports divide their revenue into two main categories: aeronautical services and non-aeronautical services (They also report “construction services”, but this is an item that is eliminated in expenditures and serves rather to reflect the investment commitments of each group).

The former refer to the business of operating the airport as such and are mainly made up of two types of income: the famous Airport Use Feeeither YOUR (paid by passengers) and the various fees that airlines have to pay for using the infrastructure.

$!Airports are very good business in Mexico, why?

For all three groups, the TUA is their main incomeand contrary to what most people think, not a tax.

Technically, It is what passengers pay to enter the airport, be in the common areas, go through security, use the restrooms, and get on the plane.

The Ministry of Communications and Transportation it determines the maximum rate that can be charged at each airport, and to do so it is based on the traffic projections and the investment budgets that its owners plan.

The logic is that shareholders can recoup what they will invest in their airports — and that they are well incentivized to do so.

For his part, airlines are also responsible for covering certain fees.

According to GAP’s annual report, these fees include “a landing fee based on aircraft weight and arrival time, an aircraft parking fee, a fee for transporting passengers from the aircraft to the terminal, and a security fee for each departing passenger.”


Various businesses coexist within an airport.

This table, for example, details all the income lines reported by OMA — and allows us to appreciate how varied the income from non-aeronautical services can be:

This type of business is growing.

$!Airports are very good business in Mexico, why?

At GAP, for example, income from non-aeronautical services contributed $560 million pesos in 2006; last year that figure was $5.2 billion.

This is not a Mexican phenomenon, of course. Around the world, airports have been turning into shopping malls.

According to ASUR’s annual report, there are 594 shops and restaurants at the Cancun airport.


In the three airport groups, net profit in 2022 was greater than 30% of total revenue.

ASURwith 41%, would be in the lead — and this despite the fact that more than 77% of its revenues in Mexico came from the Cancun airport, which has a considerably lower TUA than the Monterrey and Guadalajara airports.


The profitability of the airport groups contrasts dramatically with that of the airlines in this country.

Although some cannot exist without the others, and vice versa, the figures that they reflect in their respective income statements are completely different.

In 2022, between the three airport groups they added more than a billion dollars in net profit — a margin of more than 37%.

On the other hand, for the airlines it was a record year in terms of passenger numbers, but for example, Volaris lost $30 million (-1.1%), Aeroméxico lost $275 million (-8%) and Viva Aerobús earned just $11 million (0.7 %).

With information from Whitepaper.mx

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