Mexican airport operator Grupo Aeroportuario del Sureste SAB CV (ASR 0.54%), or ASUR, reported its fourth-quarter results before the market opened on Tuesday. Those results showed the continuation of the company's ability to not only grow traffic across its airports, but capture more revenue per passenger, causing its earnings to fly higher.

ASUR's results: The raw numbers


Q4 2015 Actuals

Q4 2014 Actuals

Growth (YOY)

Total Passenger Traffic

6.3 million

5.8 million


Total Commercial Revenue Per Passenger




Earnings Per ADS in US$




Data source: Grupo Aeroportuario del Sureste, S.A.B. de C.V.

What happened with ASUR this quarter?
ASUR continues to benefit from strong international traffic growth at its crown jewel Cancun airport:

  • Domestic traffic grew across all nine of ASUR's Mexican airports, up 10% year over year to 3 million passengers. However, it was the continued strength of its Cancun airport, which accounts for roughly half of its domestic traffic, that helped lay the foundation this quarter, with its traffic up 8.6% year over year. That said, growth at Merida, up 17.9%, Oaxaca, up 20%, and Tapachula, up 45%, were what pushed domestic passenger traffic growth up over double digits during the fourth quarter.
  • International traffic was also very strong, up 9.4% year over year. This growth was led solely by Cancun, which not only accounted for 95% of international passenger traffic in the quarter, but virtually all of its international passenger traffic growth, with Cancun's international traffic up 10.5% year over year.
  • Not only did ASUR's traffic grow during the quarter, but the company's captured more revenue per passenger as evidenced by the 16.3% jump in total commercial revenue per passenger. A big driver of this was a 27.6% increase in commercial revenue led by a 22.3% jump in food and beverage operations, a 35.5% boost in retail operations, and 44.7% surge in car rental revenue.

What's driving this growth?
ASUR is benefiting from two key trends. First, international passenger traffic continues to pour into the company's Cancun airport, primarily driven by leisure travelers. In addition to that, the company is building new amenities at Cancun, as well as some of its other airports, to not only capture more of the spending of these passengers while they are strolling through the airport, but to support their needs while in Mexico. For example, in Cancun the company opened eight retail spaces, three banking spaces, two food and beverage spaces, and a gas station last year, which all helped grow commercial revenue on a per-passenger basis.

Looking forward
In addition to continuing to build out new offerings at its airports, ASUR has two other important projects on the docket. First, in December it reached an agreement with SunPower (SPWR -1.02%) for 36 megawatts of solar energy to serve its operations in Mexico. ASUR will buy solar energy to be generated by a solar plant under a long-term agreement with SunPower. In addition to that, the company inaugurated the expansion of Terminal 3 at its Cancun airport. That expansion will enable the company to continue to grow traffic at the key airport, which is a big driver of earnings growth.