It’s a real airport pick and mix - Vinci Airports’ portfolio is diverse, global and growing

20 January, 2019

The French multinational airport operator Vinci has published its passenger traffic highlights on a country-by-country basis for 2018. They give clear insight as to where its major markets are, and aren't.


  • Vinci Airports has published a country-by-country traffic highlights table for 2018;
  • Portugal had the highest passenger number and Costa Rica the lowest;
  • As this analysis shows Vinci operates airports of all shapes and sizes, mainly under concession.

Since it took over ANA in Feb-2013, along with its concession to operate 10 airports for 50 years, the Portuguese market has become the main one for Vinci. Passenger traffic growth has been driven by Lisbon's Humberto Delgado airport, which increased by 19% and 9% in 2017 and 2018 respectively.

Ironically, that success has in a way rebounded on Vinci, which has committed, along with ANA, to invest jointly EUR1.2 billion by 2028 in both the expansion of Humberto Delgado (EUR650 million) and the construction of the New Lisbon (Montijo) Airport (EUR500 million) out of an existing military airbase, with additional funds for surface works and compensation.

Second on the list is Japan, where Vinci won a 44-year concession contract to operate Osaka Kansai and Itami airports in Dec-2015, in a consortium (Kansai Airports) with Orix and 11 other Japanese investors. Subsequently, in Jul-2017, Kansai Airports was the sole bidder on a tender to operate privately Osaka Kobe Airport under a 42-year concession contract, privatised operations commencing in Apr-2018.

Surprisingly perhaps, Chile is third in the table, where Vinci is a 40% shareholder in the Nuevo Pudahuel consortium, along with Aéroports de Paris (now Groupe ADP) and Astaldi (Italy), which was selected early in Feb-2015 by the Chilean government for the concession of Santiago de Chile Arturo Merino Benítez International Airport for 20 years.

MAP - The Vinci Airports global portfolioSource: CAPA - Centre for Aviation

"Surprisingly" in that Chile is above France, Vinci's home country, one where Vinci is certainly active, being involved though mainly at 11 small airports in a management capacity, as well as at Lyon Airport, where together with Caisse des Dépôts and Crédit Agricole Assurances, Vinci acquired the shares in the concession from the French government in Dec-2016. Vinci is as French as a croque monsieur and a gilet jaune and one might expect more, and it is almost certain to pitch for the anticipated forthcoming concessions on Marseille, Bordeaux and Lille airports.

Also surprisingly, the Paris airports (Over 100 million passengers per annum) don't feature in the table even though Vinci has an 8% shareholding in Groupe ADP, the Paris airports operator. Clearly that would radically alter the table and it will do for sure if Vinci increases its share in Groupe ADP when the government sells its holding this year.

The three Cambodian airports are a longstanding investment and were the only ones remaining when Vinci otherwise quit the sector in the early 2000s. However, Vinci has not been invited by the Cambodian government to participate in a new capital city airport or a private solution for the main tourist airport - it turned instead to a Chinese operator - despite raising traffic at the three existing ones by 20% in 2018.

The five US airports are full or partial terminal management concessions, while in contrast Brazil amounts to the single concession on the Salvador airport, which took place in 2013 as part of the third concession package there. There are no indications yet if Vinci will bid in the next two concession tranches, where the airports are mainly smaller and less cosmopolitan than those that have featured previously.

Both the UK and Swedish airports (Belfast International and Stockholm Skavsta) came to Vinci as a result of the withdrawal of Abertis from airport operation and investment, and subsequently Airports Worldwide, which had taken them over (also the Daniel Oduber Quirós International Airport in Liberia, Costa Rica). They were originally privatised by TBI, a British company, and are freehold property contracts: Belfast with a 100% and Skavsta with a 90% stake.

The six Dominican airports (Aeropuertos Dominicanos Siglo XXI [AERODOM]) were acquired in Apr-2016 from Advent, which was the 100% shareholder. AERODOM holds a concession contract with the Dominican Republic Government to operate them until Mar-2030. This is the only airport grouping to have lost passengers in 2018 (-2%).

TABLE - The performance of the diverse Vinci Airports portfolio in 2018Source: Vinci Airports

Which just leaves Belgrade's Nikola Tesla Airport in Serbia, an expensive 25-year concession on an airport which handled only 5.6 million passengers in 2018 (although it has demonstrated positive growth including 31% in 2014) and for which it had to raise EUR420 million from four multilateral institutions and six merchant banks to help cover its EUR501 million upfront concession fee. The concession began in Dec-2018.

Belgrade is viewed as a strange move by Vinci, which has no other east or south east European assets but it does signify the flexibility of its approach. It is running airports that handle a few hundred thousand passengers annually up to tens of millions.

Moreover, setting aside the previous remark about the Paris airports, it will get bigger still when it finalises its latest deal, by which it will acquire a 50.01% majority freehold shareholding in London Gatwick Airport, the second busiest serving the UK capital, and in the country. There are potential pitfalls in taking on Gatwick but at the same time it will add another 25% to its annual passenger total.