Intermoney | The latest estimate from the European Organisation for the Safety of Air Navigation (Eurocontrol) flags that air traffic in Spain will recover pre-Covid levels in 2024, a year, in fact, in which they would be 3% higher than in 2019, according to the daily Expansion.
This would partly be in contrast with other markets like Italy and the UK (+2%) and particularly Germany, which would remain slightly below this level. At the moment, only Greece and Portugal have recovered pre-pandemic activity. Eurocontrol has taken into account the damaged caused by the war in Ukraine, as well as other factors like the slow recovery in corporate air travel.
Eurocontrol basically coincides with our estimate for Aena’s traffic (Buy, TP 140 euros/share), up 3% en 2024e vs 2019. The operator has upped its guidance for this year with respect to 2019 to a range of 75-85% from 68%. Our forecast in this respect is 79%. We expect that in Q3 2023e 100% will finally be reached and, from then on, activity will rise more or less nominally. Our target price of 140 euros is still lower than that pre-Covid (170 euros), as then the traffic estimated for 2024e was 9% higher than our current forecast. That said, Aena should benefit from estimates in the DORA 2, which indicate a recovery only in 2026; the current regulation neither compensates nor penalises Aena for varations in traffic in absolute terms, only for their mix.