Airport expects positive traffic figures
The third quarter of the financial year is coming to a close – and Cologne Bonn Airport is drawing a positive balance for the current year: by the end of December some 13 million passengers will have taken off or landed at Cologne/Bonn. In comparison to 2017, this means a plus of 5%. The annual performance in the cargo sector will also be positive: 870,000 tonnes of throughput goods and handled cargo corresponds to an increase of 4% over the preceding year.
“2018 is a particularly turbulent year for the aviation industry. We have had to contend with numerous strikes, erratic weather conditions, plus capacity bottlenecks at some airlines and also in the air space. So we are all the more thrilled, that we are on the right track in traffic figures and will hit the 13 million-passenger mark for the first time,“ says Johan Vanneste, CEO of Flughafen Köln/Bonn GmbH.
Traffic development – passenger and cargo
In the first three quarters of the year we clocked up 9,970,000 passengers at Cologne/Bonn – an increase of 5% in comparison to the previous year. The growth drivers here were above all Eurowings in terms of short and medium-haul destinations, and Ryanair, Condor and Easyjet, who with their duty and commitment were able to compensate for the deficit caused by the insolvency of both Air Berlin and Niki. At the end of September the cargo sector had seen a throughput of 631,000 tonnes of goods and commodities – a plus of 4% in comparison to the previous year.
By the end of the year the cargo sector, the Airport’s second largest business area, expects a new record of 870,000 tonnes (+ 4%). “This is a sure sign that we have been able to further consolidate our market position in Cargo,” explains Vanneste.
Despite heavy expenditure, for instance for renovations and refurbishments, the good figures will ensure that the Airport will close the year 2018 with a very small positive result in both business fields. This is once again below that of the previous year: at the end of the year a profit of 1 million Euros is expected (2017: 3,8 million Euros). “In comparison to a 330 million-Euro turnover this result is too low,” comments Vanneste.
In the Non-Aviation sector we saw several new attractive outlets opening in Terminal 1: Hallhuber-Store for women’s fashion, the regional Confiserie Coppeneur offering chocolate specialities and a new Kamps bakehouse. This October will see the start of an innovative gastronomy concept, Mishba – which will offer warm dishes “to go”, for instance Kumpir potatoes and burritos.
The work on the barrier system on the Airport access approach is nearing completion. This is part of a new traffic concept to regulate traffic management, in particular the approach routes. Here the objective is to reduce the traffic load at the terminals and increase road safety. The Airport has to markedly improve the flow of traffic and ensure drivers do not illegally obstruct barred areas, driving lanes and emergency routes.
From the end of the year, visitors to the Airport, after passing the barrier system, will have ten minutes’ time to stop - free of charge - directly in front of the terminals for bringing or meeting passengers. If this free throughfare period is exceeded, an increased parking rate will be charged. This will increase accordingly: parking for up to 15 minutes costs 5€, up to 30 minutes 12€. In this case it is cheaper to use the car parks, and the short-term parking zones there from the outset. Here the parking rates remain unchanged.
The daily parking rates will be adjusted as of 1 November 2018: In P1 from 30€ to 33€, in P2 from 29€ to 33€, in P3 from 24€ to 27€. The weekly rates will increase in P2 from 79€ to 89€ and in P3 from 59€ to 69€. The online rates will also be adjusted accordingly. The 29€-online rate for a week’s parking in P3 remains in effect. As before, it is always cheaper to book online in advance.
The future holds considerable challenges for the Airport: in a difficult competitive environment the Airport wants to grow profitably and sustainably, open up new sources of revenue in Non-Aviation and, at the same time, make the necessary investments in the infrastructure. The prerequisite for all this is a significant improvement in profitability of the Airport company and leaner cost structures in all business sectors.
Initial calculations have shown that in the next ten years more than 600 million Euros will have to be made available for maintenance and renovation. “To be able to shoulder this volume, we will in the long run have to earn significantly more money. Therefore, our top priority is improving our profitability. Only when we are economically sound can we use our potential and successfully take the Airport forward,” explains Vanneste with a view to an operative margin (EBITDA) of approximately 16%. The objective must be a margin of 30%, all the more so, considering the loss of the Eurowings long-haul flights, reductions in Ryanair traffic, as well as airline consolidations in the coming year meaning a drop in passenger volume by up to 1 million passengers, which according to current forecasts, can only partly be compensated for.
The primary objective for the next years is the increase in profitability combined with the acceptance of flight operations on the part of the local residents and also a sustainable management of environmental issues. The two-pillar strategy (Passagenger/Cargo) should be developed further, resources and infrastructures ideally marketed and competitive personnel cost structures created.
In order to increase the profitability all business sectors will have to make their contribution. An essential revenue component for the future of the Airport is the development of landside spaces – for instance building an “Airport City”. This would entail new constructions on the landside which could be leased at a profit. “There are still many possibilities, in particular in the Non-Aviation sector – such as the construction of the Airport City. We have large, attractive areas available close to the Terminals, where new office complexes could be built for airline customers or business enterprises which regularly use the Airport. We have to make use of the entire potential the Airport offers,” says Johan Vanneste.
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