Vinci will create a second airport in Lisbon

By 2022, Vinci will build the second airport in Lisbon, in Montijo, in addition to substantially expanding the current one.


The French group of construction and concessions continues its growth in the air. He acquired sixteen platforms in one year.

On the south shore Tagus, at the end of a road lined with umbrella pines, military planes stand in the shade of green sheds, along the river. It is on this military base of the Portuguese Air Force, in Montijo, that Vinci will build, by 2022, the second airport of Lisbon, in addition to substantially enlarging the current airport.

The agreement between the French group and the Portuguese government was signed on Tuesday, January 8, under the applause of a group of ministers.

Vinci, which manages the ten airports of Portugal since it bought the national operator ANA for 3 billion euros in 2013, will invest 1.15 billion euros over ten years, entirely on own funds

This airport extension, which has been the subject of heated debates for half a century in the country, is expected to further boost the growth of tourism, which has become vital for Portugal. “This decision will finally solve one of the main problems of economic development in this country,” said the Mayor of Lisbon, Fernando Medina. Tourism has generated 15 billion euros in 2017; the government expects 26 billion euros in 2027. But almost all visitors arrive by plane.

Air traffic in Lisbon has doubled in six years, from 15 million passengers in 2012 to 29 million in 2018. “Growth has been three times faster than we expected, especially because of the urban tourism boom “, Says Nicolas Notebaert, General Manager of Vinci Concessions and President of Vinci Airports. Despite 300 million euros already invested to smooth routes and optimize the runway, the airport is completely saturated.

Vinci, which manages the ten airports in Portugal since it bought the national operator ANA for 3 billion euros in 2013, will invest 1.15 billion euros over ten years, entirely on own funds: 650 million to create 185,000 m2 of additional terminal on the historical site of Humberto-Delgado, which will keep a role of “hub” for the national company TAP. And 500 million to build the new airport of Montijo, a building of 90,000 m2 shaped arrowhead, specializing in unmatched connections and low-cost flights.


Intense growth cycle and acquisitions

The two platforms, from 40 to 72 aircraft movements per hour, should double the number of passengers. Shuttle buses will connect the two airports in half an hour thanks to the spectacular Vasco-de-Gama viaduct, also built and operated by Vinci. And river shuttles will serve the city center from Montijo.

For Vinci Airports, this investment completes an intense twelve-month cycle of growth and acquisitions. On 27 December, the group took control of Gatwick Airport in Great Britain for 3.2 billion euros, after having obtained in 2018 the concession of the airports of Belgrade (Serbia), Kobe ( Japan), from Salvador de Bahia (Brazil) and taken over the 12 platforms of the American Airports Worldwide, including airports in Orlando (USA), Costa Rica, Belfast (Northern Ireland) and Stockholm (Sweden). Vinci now operates 46 airports around the world, with annual traffic of 228 million passengers, making it the world’s fourth largest airline.

This acquisition policy is not complete. Air traffic, which is expected to double by 2030, is growing at twice the pace of economic growth. And airports offer better profitability than highways, the heart of Vinci’s business in the concessions. “The levers of value creation are richer and more varied at airports. We can be proactive and convince airlines to open new routes, “explains Xavier Huillard, CEO of Vinci.

Above all, highway contracts are not eternal. “One day the concessions will come to an end. We need to acquire and develop assets that will mature to replace them, notes Huillard. We are in no hurry, but the ideal would be that Vinci Airports reaches the size of our motorway sector. That’s 6 billion euros in sales internationally, when the consolidated revenue of Vinci’s airports now stands at 1.8 billion euros.

The group keeps an eye on the airports of Brussels, Marseilles or Lille … until the French government takes a decision on the privatization of the ADP group (ex-Aéroports de Paris), whose principle is recorded. Already a shareholder of 8%, Vinci is on the line in case of sale by the State of its 50.6%, valued at nearly 9 billion euros. “It makes sense for us, provided we have control, or the prospect of taking control,” said Huillard. The 3.8 billion euros ADP turnover and its 225 million passengers would make Vinci Airports the new world leader.

Source: Le Monde