QCOSTARICA – Given the decrease in air traffic in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Carlos Alvarado government had to economically compensate the operator of the Juan Santamaría Airport (SJO).
In total, the government had to pay Aeris US$29.9 million dollars in compensation, according to a clause of the Contrato de Gestión Interesada (CGI) – Interested Management Contract – reported El Observador.
This information emerged on January 18, when Moody’s announced that it had ratified Aeris’s last rating at B3 and changed its outlook to negative. As part of the explanation, the firm detailed:
“According to the CGI, Aeris has the right to receive compensation in the form of reimbursement, rate increase or a concession extension as a result of the fall in traffic levels of 15% or more during the last months.
“Aeris reached an agreement with the Government of Costa Rica, in which they will receive US$29.9 million to restore financial balance. Furthermore, we understand that the Government of Costa Rica is analyzing a potential extension of the concession,” the public report indicates.
The rating agency added that in December, the income level of the Santamaría was 74% lower compared to the same period during 2019, a direct effect from the country’s closure of air borders from March 18 to August 1.
Throughout the year, revenue at the country’s main international airport was 68% less than in 2019, according to statistics on the Aeris website.
With this cash injection, Aeris is expected to be able to meet operating expenses and debt service payments without recourse to the reserve account.