* No plans to sell more shares in airport operator in months ahead
* Government sold over 40 pct of Aena in lucrative IPO in 2015
* Spain to announce 2017-2021 airport tariff plan within a month (Recasts to lead with no plans to sell Aena for now)
By Robert Hetz
MADRID, Jan 10 (Reuters) - Spain has no immediate plans to sell shares in majority state-owned airport operator Aena , Public Works Minister Inigo de la Serna said on Tuesday, ruling out a repeat of 2015’s lucrative stake sale over the coming months.
A sale of some of the government’s remaining 51 percent in Aena, which runs 46 Spanish airports, had been mooted by bankers as a potential source of cash for Madrid which is under pressure from Brussels to fill a huge budget shortfall this year.
De la Serna said in November, shortly after being appointed, that the government was studying a possible further share sale of Aena, which also holds interests in airports in Britain, Mexico and Colombia.
However, De la Serna on Tuesday played down prospects for swift action.
“There’s nothing expected in the short term,” the minister told reporters when asked about a possible sale. Asked to clarify ‘short-term’ he said in the next weeks or months.
Spain sold over 40 percent of the company in February 2015, in Europe’s largest initial public offering (IPO) in years in a deal worth 3.8 billion euros ($4 billion). Shares have more than doubled since their stock market flotation.
Spain also said on Tuesday it would announce a new four-year airport tariff scheme within a month, a move with implications for the country’s key tourist industry and Aena’s earning potential.
Charges to airlines for using airports are the main source of income for Aena, which wants to keep them at current levels, whereas regulators and airlines want to cut the charges to boost the travel industry.
Minister De la Serna, speaking at an event in Madrid, said the government would present the new tariff scheme for 2017 to 2021 within a month. The air industry regulator, controlled by the Public Works Ministry, has the final word on setting tariffs.
Spanish competition watchdog CNMC proposed in June the airport tariffs should be cut by 2 percent each year until 2021. ($1 = 0.9436 euros) (Writing by Sonya Dowsett; Editing by Paul Day/Keith Weir)