MADRID (Reuters) -Spanish airport operator Aena has warned it does not expect a recent sharp recovery in passenger numbers to be sustained due to the tough economic environment, sending its shares to their lowest in nearly two years. Aena said that even though revenue soared thanks to rising aircraft traffic, its expenses rose 40% during the half year to 1 billion euros, largely due to higher energy bills. In July, passenger traffic at Aena's airports were at 90% of pre-pandemic levels, but the company said it did not expect that to last given the economic outlook, Chief Financial Officer Jose Leo told a conference call with analysts.
Spain's Aena kicked off the bidding on Friday for a 28-hectare plot near Madrid-Barajas where the airport operator plans to build a mega-hub for air and ground freight to capitalise on a boom in logistics. The move is the first step in a plan announced earlier this year to build the hub, called Airport City, near Aena's largest airport which it also hopes will become an international flight hub connecting Asia to Europe and Latin America. Potential investors face a qualifying phase in which they must commit to providing 125% or more of the initial capital expenditure, which Aena estimated at 107 million euros ($124 million), in exchange for a majority stake in a joint venture.