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In the spotlight: Investing in airports

Airport report: Hong Kong

Special report: The digital marketplace

Plus: Route development & Autonomous vehicles

Editor, Joe Bates, reflects on the investor appeal of the world’s gateways in this ‘Investing in airports’ themed first issue of 2019.

Time to invest

One of the first articles I was asked to help produce when I joined Airport World back in 2000 was a comprehensive look at the companies that owned and operated an international portfolio of airports.

We called the feature the ‘A to Z of Global Airport Operators’ and it basically proved so popular that we have produced it every other year for nearly 20 years, and although many of the names and the types of investor have changed, a few key ones remain and continue to flourish and expand today.

They include Fraport AG, TAV Airports and VINCI Airports (which acquired the airport assets of Groupe GTM in 2000), all of which come under the microscope for their global activities and airport investments in this issue, along with Ferrovial Airports and CCR Airports.

The first three represent the ‘mature’ investor in the article while Ferrovial provides an example of a former international powerhouse returning to the market and CCR provides some perspective from a relative newcomer to the global airport arena with a growing asset list.

The demise of former airport investors such as Meinl Airports International (MAI) and Planestation (formerly the Wiggins Group) and the withdrawal from the airport market over the years of companies like Abertis, Penta Investments and others, just goes to show how tough it can be to successfully own and operate a portfolio of airports in different countries.

In addition to the above-mentioned global airport investor article, the ‘Investing in airports’ themed section of this issue also includes the ‘Buying game’, where we look back at the big privatisation deals of 2018 and ponder what might be on the horizon this year.

We also consider IT innovation and the types of new technology airports are investing in; get a sneak preview of China’s new Chengdu Tianfu International Airport; and learn about the changing landscape of airport development.

As you would expect from the issue being distributed at the upcoming ACI Asia-Pacific/ACI World Annual General Assembly, Conference & Exhibition in Hong Kong (WAGA 2019), our main feature is on Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA).

Indeed, Airport Authority Hong Kong CEO, Fred Lam, talks to us about everything from HKIA’s incredible multi-modal links, traffic growth and some of the most ambitious development plans in the world to new technology and training and development.

Elsewhere in the magazine you can learn more about the potential of digital commerce; read about some of the latest airport retail/F&B initiatives; discover how artificial intelligence will benefit airport security in the coming years; and find out why airports should not be afraid of the arrival of autonomous vehicles.

ACI World director general, Angela Gittens, provides a taster of what we can expect from the ACI Airport Economics & Finance Conference and Exhibition in London this March; we cover human resources issues in our regular ‘People matters’ column; and introduce the new regular route development focused feature, ‘Cleared for take-off’.

If that’s not enough, you can always turn to the ACI World news and World Business Partner pages to discover the latest news from Montréal HQ and the organisation’s growing list of WBPs.

I am not sure what part of the world you will be reading this in, but in the Northern Hemisphere it is just beginning to feel like winter is nearing its end. The days are slowly becoming longer and the daffodils in my garden are beginning to bloom, which can only mean one thing, that ACI’s annual Airport Economics & Finance Conference and Exhibition in London in the Spring is just around the corner!

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