The National Commission of Markets and Competition (CNMC) considers that the annual rate increase of 3.29% until 2026 that Aena has proposed is “not justified”, and claims, instead, a decrease of 0.44%. This is how the regulatory body has ruled before the Airport Regulation Document (DORA II) for the period 2022-2026 collected by Servimedia.
The CNMC report released this Monday is prior to the drafting of the rate review document that the General Directorate of Civil Aviation (DGAC) will submit to the Council of Ministers for approval. The committee chaired by Cani Fernández analyzes in this report, among other issues, traffic forecasts, quality standards, investments and the estimation of operating and capital costs that the airport manager will foreseeably incur for the provision of services airports.
The CNMC explains the points on which it disagrees with Aena for its rate hike. In the first place, in traffic forecasts, the commission estimates, based on its own traffic models and those of other international organizations, that the levels of traffic prior to the Covid-19 pandemic will recover sooner than indicated by Aena. Specifically, it foresees that the recovery would be achieved between the period 2024-2025 instead of in the year 2026, according to the manager.
On the other hand, and with regard to the level of traffic that will be reached at the end of DORA (2026), the CNMC considers that Aena’s estimate “may be conservative”. With regard to quality indicators, the CNMC points out that the accumulated experience of the first DORA shows a persistent fulfillment of the quality objectives. For this reason, the CNMC proposes to update the neutral bands of penalties and incentives for certain indicators. In addition, it raises the possibility of updating the target values of some of them.
On the other hand, “and given the exceptional situation of the sector caused by the Covid-19 pandemic that will foreseeably extend over several years” of DORA II, the supervisor considers it “reasonable” that the incentive system be kept on hold until when the levels and mix of traffic prior to the pandemic recover.
Regarding the criteria for estimating operating costs, the CNMC disagrees with the estimate made by the airport manager and advises efficiency adjustments based on the expected traffic. Regarding the cost of capital, the Commission proposes an alternative more in line with that used in other countries of the European Union and other regulated sectors, according to which an average cost of capital before tax of 6.02% is determined instead of 7 , 68% of Aena.
As a consequence of these criteria disparities, the CNMC considers an annual rate reduction of 0.44% necessary instead of the 3.29% increase proposed by the airport manager. “With this reduction, while ensuring the economic sustainability of the airport network in the period of the second DORA, the recovery of air traffic will be promoted after the impact of the health and economic crisis caused by the Covid-19 pandemic”, noted in your report.