Spanish Airport Operator to Lose $1.8 bln in Revenues on New COVID-19 Regulation

Spanish airport operator Aena could lose up to 1.5 billion euros ($1.76 billion) of revenues between 2020 and 2025 after Spain passed a law on Thursday pegging retail tenants' rent to air traffic until footfall reaches pre-pandemic levels, Reuters reported. The much-disputed minimum annual guaranteed rents owed to Aena will be reduced in direct proportion to the passenger flow in each local airport, according to the text of the law, and will remain as such until travel returns to 2019 figures. The legal change is set to protect all food, drink and retail businesses whose rental contracts with Aena were active on March 14, 2020, the day Spain went into COVID-19 lockdown. "This is a sector which will head straight towards bankruptcy otherwise," said lawmaker Pedro Quevedo of the centre-left Nueva Canarias party after reading the proposed law. Lawmakers voted in favour of the new legislation by a majority of 178 to 16. Aena, which expects traffic at its airports to recover to 2019 levels only in 2026, said in a statement it will evaluate "all judicial implications of the norm and will take all possible actions to defend the social interest of the company." Read more.