SWITZERLAND. Zürich Airport retail and dining turnover fell by -60.5% year-on-year in 2020 to CHF237.2 million (US$267.2 million), with a -72.6% slide in airside sales and a -43.1% decline in landside revenues.

Average spend per departing passenger reached CHF23.30 (US$26.26), up by +3.5% in the year, though this was off a much smaller traveller base than in 2019.

Commercial performance in December and the full year; click to enlarge

Passenger traffic in the full year hit 8.3 million, down by -73.5% compared to 2019.

In December, a month hit hard by lockdowns across Europe, retail and dining turnover fell by -67.8% to CHF17.1 million (US$19.27 million). This was still ahead of the sharp -84.8% fall in passenger traffic, to just 355,315. Average spend per departing passenger was CHF26.30 (US$29.63), up by +6% on a year earlier.

The figures include early revenue from lifestyle and business district, The Circle, which opened at the airport in November.

Zürich Airport CEO Stephan Widrig said: “We look back on a very challenging and turbulent year. The collapse in traffic in the international travel sector came to an almost complete standstill at times. Nevertheless, Zurich Airport always remained open to ensure Switzerland’s connection to the world. Constantly changing travel regulations and quarantine rules lead to great uncertainty for both travellers and companies.

“As soon as the medical situation permits, travel must be able to resume without restrictions, subject to protective measures. For Swiss tourism as well as for the Swiss economy, which is dependent on foreign trade, it is important that international travel can be planned again. The recognition of vaccinations and negative test results in order to lift any quarantine regulations will play a crucial role in the return to normality in air travel. We anticipate a slow and gradual recovery in international travel beginning in mid-2021.”

Zürich Airport previously said that international travel will remain “at a low level over the Winter months” as COVID-19 case numbers rise in many European markets and as quarantine measures hold back growth.

On prospects for the commercial business, the airport company said in November: “While the business landside is recovering more quickly, the situation for our partners on the airside is still challenging. Individual agreements on minimum annual guarantees (MAG) for the current year have been made with the majority of the commercial partners. The agreements increase planning security both for the commercial partners and for Flughafen Zürich AG.”

Zürich Airport said it is optimistic about the medium term. “The traffic mix with a high proportion of local passengers, a strong home carrier and the robust Swiss economy create favourable conditions for returning to pre-crisis levels in the coming years.”

Spend per passenger held up well in 2020, though from a much smaller base than usual; click to enlarge