Spain’s Aena opens bidding for new Madrid airport logistics hub

Spain’s Aena (AENA.MC) 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.

Bidders have until Nov. 7 to present their documentation, with the plot of land known as Area 1 expected to be auctioned in the first quarter of 2022, and state-owned Aena set to retain a minority stake in the newly-formed company.

Aena said in a statement it will lease Area 1, which will combine 153,000 square metres of developed area and 4 hectares of land reserved for green spaces, to its majority partner for a period of 75 years.

Airport City will offer investors 2.1 million square metres of buildable space overall, dedicated to cross-docking, storage and logistics warehouses and providers of associated aviation services, as well as offices, hotels and parks.

The company on Thursday also signed a 30-year lease with Worldwide Flight Services (WFS) to use two logistics plots in Madrid-Barajas airport’s Air Cargo Poligon – an area separate to the yet-to-be-built Airport City.

WFS will pay 2 million euros per year to use around 12,200 square metres for air-freight activities including merchandise storage and handling, Aena said in a statement, some 360% above the expected value.