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CEO of TAV Airports - Serkan Kaptan: “We are undertaking the largest investment program in the history of TAV Airports.”

Issue 21 - 2023
CEO of TAV Airports - Serkan Kaptan: “We are undertaking the largest investment program in the history of  TAV Airports.”

We talked with CEO of TAV Airports- Serkan Kaptan about airport operation at home and abroad, new investment plans, future marketing strategies and its predictions for 2024.

Ayşe Akalın: TAV Airports announced €982M revenue in nine months. How do you evaluate the numbers for 2023? What are your predictions for 2024?

Serkan Kaptan: Turkish tourism continued to be sought after in 2023 and we observed a longer season, especially in Antalya.  Across our portfolio of airports, most of our major markets are above 2019 traffic. During the first nine months, the number of our guests from Germany is 24%, UK is 48%, Poland is 78% and UAE is 29% above 2019 levels and Russian traffic is at 55% of 2019 level. We are also very pleased to welcome close to one million Kazakh travellers into our airports with a growth of 101% versus 2019. Starting with September, we started welcoming Russian travellers again into our Georgian airports and have observed that a partial recovery has started in Russian traffic. International traffic in Almaty is booming with the growth of the middle class, increased business travel and growth in inbound tourism. Situated strategically between China and Europe, Almaty also enjoys strong cargo traffic, supported by e-commerce. 

With very strong operations we had an EBITDA of €321 million in 2023 with a growth of 20% vs 2022.  During the quarter, we completed the sale of 24% of TIBAH Development shares for US$ 135 million resulting in a one-off gain of €83 million. Including this gain, we had a net profit of €176 million in 2023 which constituted a 37% growth over 2022. Accordingly, we are reaffirming our 2023 guidance which we expect to materialize near the higher end in passenger numbers and EBITDA, and near the lower end in net debt/EBITDA. 

We have announced a guidance for 2025 and as part of this, we expect 10-14% compound annual growth in passenger traffic and revenue between 2022 and 2025. During the same period, we expect a compound annual EBITDA growth of 12-18%. In the light of these expectations, 2024 will be a year of continued growth amid challenges in global economy and geo-political risks.

Ayşe Akalın: TAV Airports provides integrated services in all areas of airport operations, with a global footprint at 15 airports in 8 countries. Could you please enlighten us about your worldwide airport operations? How do you asses your global presence?

Serkan Kaptan:  We have airport operations in 15 countries, namely in Türkiye, Georgia, N. Macedonia, Kazakhstan, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Latvia and Croatia. Moreover, our service companies are active in all areas of airport operations and our global footprint reaches 108 airports in 29 countries. 

Our retail company, ATÜ Duty-Free is a partnership with Unifree–owned by Heinemann, and has operations in Türkiye, Georgia, Tunisia, North Macedonia, Latvia, Oman and Madinah, Galataport and IGA. BTA, focusing on food & beverage is active in Türkiye, Georgia, North Macedonia, Tunisia, Latvia, Oman and Croatia. It also operates Izmir Airport Hotel and has a production facility located in Istanbul. 

HAVAŞ is the leading ground handling brand in Türkiye, with operations in 28 airports across the country. Furthermore, it has operations in Riga and Zagreb. Our hospitality arm TAV Operation Services operates approximately 90 lounges in 19 countries. TAV Security are experts in aviation private security. Lastly, TAV Technologies has a portfolio of more than 40 products that are implemented at more than 40 airports across the globe. 

Ayşe Akalın: In coming period, are you planning new investments in new countries? Can you provide more insight into new terminal expansion plans in your current operated airports?

Serkan Kaptan:  Currently we are undertaking the largest investment program in the history of TAV Airports. In Almaty, we are close to complete a US$ 200M investment and the new terminal will go into operation in 2024. This will take annual capacity to above 14 million passengers and help increase passenger satisfaction, contributing to our commercial revenues. In Antalya, together with our partner Fraport, we are investing around € 750M to increase annual capacity to 65 million. It is a major development project both at terminals and airside. The project is going according to plan, and it will be ready in 2025. The investment in Ankara is also progressing, to be completed in 2025.

During the last two years we have bought shares of Almaty Airport, extended our concession in Antalya until 2025 and in Ankara until 2050. Together with these developments, the maturity of our portfolio increased from 8 years to 30 years, providing a solid foundation for the future growth of the company.

As TAV Airports, we are targeting developing markets, namely Central Asia and CIS countries, Eastern Europe, Africa and the Middle East. As of today, we are following projects in Kuwait and Montenegro. 

Ayşe Akalın: What is the status of your global activities with your service companies ATÜ, HAVAŞ, BTA and TAV Technology? Are you setting sights on new markets and areas within this new period?

Serkan Kaptan: In addition to our ongoing investments in Antalya, Almaty and Ankara, our service companies are always actively looking for opportunities to grow their portfolio. TAV Operation Services having grown its portfolio to almost 90 lounges in 19 countries. Among its most notable lounges we can count lounges in Charles de Gaulle, Orly, Barcelona, Madrid, Ibiza, JFK and Dulles airports. TAV Technologies is also expanding on a global scale, with projects in Africa and in the Americas.

We are part of the Groupe ADP network, which is the largest airport management platform globally. Our aim is to benefit from the extensive know-how of our network to provide tailor-made solutions for airport development and management projects in our target regions.

Ayşe Akalın: What is TAV doing for sustainability? How would you summarize TAV’s ongoing sustainability projects?

Serkan Kaptan: As an active member of the larger aviation community, TAV Airports is convinced that air transport will continue to grow, creating value for its stakeholders and minimizing its environmental impact. Our common purpose drives our ambitions: “Welcome passengers, operate and imagine airports, in a responsible way and all around the world.” 

Accordingly, as a member of Groupe ADP, we have outlined our common ambitions in a covenant titled “Airports for Trust”, in 2021. The first part of the covenant focuses on “protecting the planet” and it has four pillars: Tend towards zero environmental impact operations, which notably includes the commitment to reach carbon neutrality by 2030 at the latest. Participate actively in the aviation sector’s environmental transition efforts. Promote the integration of each airport in a local resource system. Build a greener future by reducing the environmental footprint of our project development activities.

The second part focuses on the social impact, and it is titled “thriving with the local communities”. We are committed to being an active contributor in the improvement of the living conditions of the local populations, building long-term trust and cohesion with local stakeholders, reinforcing the benefits of the airport activity for the local communities and federating the airport community and act together for maximizing the positive impacts of airport activity and facilitating acceptability.

Ayşe Akalın: The future of airports lies in embracing cutting-edge technologies, personalizing the passenger experience, optimizing operational efficiency, prioritizing sustainability, and fostering collaboration. an you elaborate on your activities in the digitalization of your airports?

Serkan Kaptan: We are aiming at creating smart airports that will improve customer experience, supporting the development of the hospitality offer and creating additional revenues. Additionally, the program will help optimize operations, increasing terminal capacity, optimizing costs, and standardizing processes.

Our 2025 roadmap focuses on digitalization, hospitality and sustainability. In the context of this roadmap, all points in the passenger journey will be monitored in real-time, supported by automated and digital processes. The smart airport program developed and implemented using the existing capabilities of TAV Technologies and R&D efforts. We will achieve an ASQ score of 4+ for all airports with an annual traffic above 3 million passengers. We aim at having three airports in top 100 in Skytrax ratings and reach +10 million customers at our lounge network. Lastly, we are targeting two additional 5-star ranked lounges in portfolio.

Ayşe Akalın: Thank you for the interview. Would you like to add a message for our readers?

Serkan Kaptan: I wish everyone a happy and healthy 2024, with much success. The aviation community will continue contributing to a better world for all 

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