THE NETHERLANDS. Amsterdam Airport Schiphol owner Royal Schiphol Group saw a fall in retail per passenger spending last year which was partly offset by the strong performance of food & beverage operations.

While total revenue from concessions and parking was up: concessions by +10.0% to €206 million (U$253.5 million) and car parking by +6.5% to €123 million (US$151 million), average retail spending per departing passenger in the post-security shops fell -2.2% from €13.65 to €13.35. However, average spending on F&B rose +8.4% from €4.32 to €4.68.

The +10% concession increase, and the parking rise were largely driven by Schiphol’s +7.7% passenger increase to 68.5 million. Another factor in spurring concession fees was the 2016 renovation of Lounge 2, the airport company said.

Royal Schiphol Group as a whole – which also operates Rotterdam The Hague and Eindhoven airports – posted a revenue rise of +2.4% to €1,458 million but a -8.7% contraction in its net result to €280 million.

HMSHost’s new Lounge 1 Food Court, opened in April 2017, has played a key role in Schiphol’s much-improved F&B results

Changed consumer behaviour and overcrowding’

Commenting on the decline in average retail spend per departing passenger, Schiphol noted: “This is a result of changed consumer behaviour and overcrowding in the terminal.”

At the operating result level, Schiphol took a beating with a decrease of €61 million to €359 million, mainly due to costs rising in the Aviation division. That affected the operating result by €76 million, resulting in a €39 million operating loss. More positively, Consumer Products & Services (which includes the retail business) posted growth of +9.6% and a €206 million operating result.

Schiphol’s Holland Boulevard has raised the airport’s shopping and dining image but the airport faces a capacity crunch which is hurting retail

Capacity crunch

Royal Schiphol Group’s most pressing concern is that it has reached its limit on air transport movements. Its airports handed 496,748 movements last year but can’t exceed 500,000 up to and including 2020, impinging on passenger growth, currently the main retail driver.

President & CEO Jos Nijhuis called for “new agreements on smart and sustainable development of aviation beyond 2020 and stressed: “Until this extra capacity becomes available, we will continue to take further operational measures to avoid bottlenecks at peak times.” He blamed the lower net result on having to put these operational measures in place to accommodate the growth in passenger numbers and maintain quality levels.

After three years of successive reductions, Schiphol will increase its airport charges by +5.4% starting from 1 April 2018.