Airport World - Marcel Langeslag

Real estate development could act as the catalyst for the successful future development of many African airports, writes NACO’s aviation director for Africa, Marcel Langeslag.

As airports continue to recover from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, many are looking for ways to build a more resilient business that is less dependent on revenue generated by passengers and aviation activity.

The situation has renewed the interest in non-passenger income streams, including cargo and commercial real estate.

While airport revenues decreased by an average of 43% from 2019 to 2020, income from real estate remained relatively robust and dropped by ‘only’ 12% according to the ACI Airport Economics 2022 Report.

This illustrates the cushioning effect of real estate as described in our White Paper: How Real Estate Can Help Airports Build Resilient Business (July 2020). In Africa this effect was even more pronounced, with real estate revenues down 4% year-on-year, compared to a drop in total revenues of 42%.

Airports are catalysts for economic growth. Recognising this, governments, airport operators and investors can drive real estate developments that benefit both airports and regional economies.

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