AUSTRIA. Vienna Airport has forecast a profit of €4 million in 2021, compared to a net loss of €75.7 million in 2020. The impact of cost-cutting and government supports were cited as key reasons.

In a revised outlook for the year, passenger traffic for the group (including Malta and Kosice airports), is expected to reach 12-13 million, below Vienna Airport’s original estimate but ahead of the 2020 figure of 7.8 million. In 2019, group traffic hit 31.7 million.

Passenger traffic growth in July and early August offer strong signs of recovery, though volumes remain less than half of those in 2019

Despite the modest expectations for traffic, the board said would likely achieve its profit targets. It said: “This can be attributed to considerable cost savings such as lower expenses for incentives, a decline in maintenance costs and a reduction in personnel expenses, accompanied by higher government grants related to the extension of short-time work until the end of 2021 and additional income from real estate transactions.”

Revenue is expected to amount to reach €380 million in 2021 (compared to the previous outlook of €430 million), with EBITDA of €150 million (unchanged from previous guidance). Following an increase in the previous year, the net debt of the company is anticipated to decline to about €100 million. Investments will total around €60 million.

Vienna Airport key financials for the first half; click to enlarge

In the first half of 2021, group revenue decreased by -34.3% year-on-year to €128.6 million on passenger traffic of 2,393,631, down by -61.1%. EBITDA declined by -48.4% to €25.2 million, and EBIT fell to a negative €40.3 million. The net profit for the period before non-controlling interests in was a negative €32.5 million.

The Retail & Properties division reported a drop in revenue of -23.9% year-on-year to €32.2 million, with EBIT of €9.2 million.

The company also reported an encouraging set of July traffic figures, with passenger numbers group-wide at 1,817,202, though this was still down by -55.2% compared to the pre-crisis level of July 2019. Vienna Airport alone served 1.5 million passengers, around three times the figure of a year earlier.

Vienna Airport Member of the Management Board Julian Jäger said: “The month of July was the busiest month in terms of passenger volume since the beginning of the pandemic. 1.5 million travellers represent close to three times as many passengers as July of 2020, and this positive trend also intensified in the first half of August. This gives us hope for the Summer and the upcoming months.

“People are increasingly travelling again, and the new flight connections announced by Air Canada, EVA Air, Etihad Airways and many other carriers are proof of this. Nevertheless, we are still far from the level of pre-coronavirus passenger traffic and the next months will remain challenging. From today’s perspective, we expect about 12-13 million passengers in the Flughafen Wien Group for the entire 2021 financial year.”

On the wider picture, Member of the Management Board Günther Ofner said: “Fortunately, the increasingly avid Austrian travellers are enjoying their Summer vacations once again. However, in order to avoid new travel restrictions in the Fall (Autumn), the incentives to get vaccinated should be significantly strengthened based on making a clear distinction to those who are not vaccinated. In any case, a renewed lockdown would not be acceptable for the majority of vaccinated people and would once again stifle the nascent hope for increased tourist traffic.”