VIE Forecasts for Passenger Development

“2020 is the most difficult as well as the most bizarre year in airport history,” says Julian Jäger, Member of the Management Board of Flughafen Wien AG and shares forecast for passenger development in 2021.

“With a total of 7.8 million passengers, we registered a passenger volume we last witnessed 26 years ago, in 1994. The weakest day saw only 154 travellers at the airport. The first months of 2021 remain challenging, but an upturn is on the horizon. The vaccine has arrived internationally, and from today’s perspective should result in a significant increase in passenger volumes, particularly starting in the second half of 2021. We anticipate 12.5 million passengers at Vienna Airport, more than 70% in the second half of the year. However, common, EU-wide testing strategies and travel regulations are urgently required in order to return to a rudimentary freedom of travel and thus set the economy and tourism in motion again. This is the only way to successfully find our way out of the crisis,” states Julian Jäger.

“As one of the most important employers, the travel industry requires further government support in the form of an extension of the short time work model which has been extremely successful up until now in order to preserve and safeguard jobs. This is the prerequisite for preventing layoffs by Flughafen Wien AG in spite of the approx. 60% drop in traffic compared to 2019. Vienna Airport has successfully mastered the crisis even if 2020 resulted in a net loss for the first time. With an equity ratio of about 60% and our being almost debt-free, we laid a solid foundation in the past profitable years with respect to our crisis resilience. The successfully implemented cost reduction programme, government support and the delay of major planned investments enables us to be more optimistic once again with respect to our business development in 2021 and return to profitability again. In spite of the difficult phase we are currently in, the growing confidence on the part of the population concerning the meaningfulness and effectiveness of the vaccination should lead more people to once again book holiday flights in the summer and autumn months. This is because flying will never be as inexpensive in the future as it is now. For this purpose, we are continuing our comprehensive measures to ensure safe and healthy travelling. Up until now about 130,000 people have had a COVID-19 PCR test done at Vienna Airport”, says Günther Ofner, Member of the Management Board of Flughafen Wien AG.

9.7 million passengers (-75.6%) handled by the Flughafen Wien Group in 2020

The Flughafen Wien Group (Vienna Airport and the international strategic investments in Malta Airport and Kosice Airport) reported a total of 9.7 million passengers in the year 2020, comprising a year-on-year decrease of 75.6%.

7.8 million passengers (-75.3%) at Vienna Airport

Vienna Airport also registered a massive decline in the number of passengers it handled, recording a total of 7,812,938 passengers in 2020, a drop of 75.3% from the prior-year level. This corresponds approximately to the passenger volume of the year 1994. Passenger volume also declined with respect to transfer traffic (-79.2%) and local passengers (-74.1%). The number of starts and landings fell by 64.1%, whereas capacity utilisation of the aircraft (seat load factor) dropped by 19.9 percentage points to 57.4%. Cargo volume showed a downward development, decreasing by 23.2% in the year 2020.

A special year for VIE: Longest passenger flight and Europe’s first airport testing station

In any case, 2020 will go down in airport history as a very special year. For one thing, with only 7.8 million passengers in 2020, Vienna Airport only registered as “few” passengers as it last did in the year 1994. Vienna Airport recorded the strongest decreases in April and May 2020, when 99% fewer passengers were handled, as well as in the months of June, November and December, when passenger volume was down by more than 90%. On Easter Monday, namely 13 April 2020, only 154 passengers frequented the terminal building. 1,670 tonnes of medical aid supplies were delivered by airplane. In 2020, Austrian Airlines flew from Auckland to Vienna, making it the longest passenger flight to Vienna in the history of Vienna Airport. In order to at least make it possible for travellers to take business trips, Vienna Airport launched its PCR testing station in May 2020, making it the European forerunner in this regard. Up until today, about 130,000 PCR tests have been carried out.  

Development of international strategic investments

The international strategic investments of the Flughafen Wien Group were also strongly impacted by the COVID-10 pandemic. Malta Airport reported a passenger volume of 1,748,050 travellers, passengers, representing a decline of 76.1% from 2019. Kosice Airport handled 94,428 passengers in 2020, comprising a year-on-year decrease of 82.6%.

Forecast for passenger development: about 15.9 million passengers in the Flughafen Wien Group and approx. 12.5 million passengers at Vienna Airport in 2021

The year 2021 will result in an upswing in flight traffic but will remain a challenging time. From today’s perspective, the first three to six months of the year will remain weak, but a substantial increase in passenger volumes is expected starting in the summer and in the second half of 2021. Flughafen Wien AG expects about 12.5 million travellers at Vienna Airport in the entire year 2021, and about 15.9 million travellers in the Flughafen Wien Group (Vienna Airport and the international strategic investments in Malta Airport and Kosice Airport). However, the crucial factors to ensure growth once again will be high vaccination coverage rates achieved as quickly as possible, as well as uniform travel regulations.

Financial guidance 2021 

The Flughafen Wien Group has established a sound economic basis for its business operations and plans to be profitable again in 2021. The company has secured sufficient liquidity to cope with all foreseeable crisis scenarios. From today’s perspective, revenue in 2021 is expected to reach a level of € 430 million, generate a positive EBITDA of € 150 million and a slightly positive consolidated net profit of € 4 million. Net debt of the company will likely be reduced to about € 100 million. Investments are expected to total approx. € 62 million in 2021.

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