The main airports of the country did not have rest this summer. The registered passenger traffic in destinations such as Cancun , Los Cabos and Puerto Vallarta during July significantly exceeded pre-pandemic levels, and even some of the large cities managed to recover after a couple of years pressured by the drop in demand caused by the health contingency, which is beginning to be history for airport operators.
One of the most notable cases has been that of the beaches. Cancun International Airport had practically 20% more passengers than in 2019, and had the best July in its history in the domestic segment, exceeding the 1 million passenger ceiling for the first time for a month.
Similarly, Los Cabos registered a 25% growth in the reception of travelers, with the highest growth coming from the international market –of almost 30%–, while Puerto Vallarta ‘s passenger traffic soared 40%, with an international segment which exceeded 558,000 users in the month, 42.6% more than in 2019.
“The set of three airports that has received 67.8% of international tourists so far in 2022 registered positive differences in the annual accumulated number of international passengers”, of 11.8%, according to a report from the Center for Tourism Research and Competitiveness (Cicotur) Anahuac over the airports of Cancun, Los Cabos and Puerto Vallarta.
“This month highlights that the annual accumulated number of passengers at the Puerto Vallarta airport exceeds what was already registered in the same period of 2019,” he points out.
For the operators Grupo Aeroportuario del Pacifico ( GAP ), the Southeast ( Asur ) and the North Center ( OMA ), there have been different factors that have increased their respective passenger traffic.
For Asur –with a portfolio of airports located in pleasure destinations–, the recovery of tourism has been the key, where the airlines have also set their sights.
“During 2022, we estimate that a favorable growth trend will continue, as a result of a greater appetite for leisure travel , as well as a greater offer of routes by airlines and the new measures adopted for commercial flights” says Brian Rodríguez, an analyst at Monex Grupo Financiero, in an analysis of Asur.
In the case of GAP, its proximity to the United States has been the engine of growth for several airports. “Internationally, Tijuana maintains the best trend with an increase of 52.6%, derived from an increase in Cross Border Xpress (CBX) users,” he adds.
The international segment seems to be the engine that has driven the most significant growth, since in vacation destinations, for example, its low dynamism has been related to a slow recovery, as has been the case of Acapulco , which still stands at 3.6%. below 2019 levels. Similarly, Monterrey has also not reached pre-pandemic traffic, but is within 4% of recovering it.
“OMA’s EBITDA growth of 40% compares to ASUR’s 61% and GAP’s 46%”. In addition, OMA is the only one of the trio whose profit per share was below the consensus and its cash flow from operations was lower than a year ago”, refers to a Citibanamex analysis signed by Stephen Trent and Filipe Nielsen.
“Going forward, better visibility into the recovery of business travel, not just cash dividends, could be critical for OMA stock.”