Airport confirms course for growth
Cologne Bonn Airport has confirmed its positive expectations for the current financial year and, at the end of the third quarter, it remains on the growth path both in passenger volume and air cargo. By the end of the year, 12.2 million passengers will have taken off or landed at the Rhineland Airport. Compared to 2016, this means an increase of 2 percent and sets a new record. The cargo sector is also expected to increase significantly, by 6 percent by the end of December, reaching a new peak of 830,000 tons of handled goods and merchandise. The Airport will again in 2017 report a positive operating result: A profit of 4.1 million Euros after tax is expected.
“We are on a record-breaking course in our two most important business sectors. Despite the turbulent market conditions and the prevailing consolidation process among the airlines, we will once again be able to increase our passenger figures. By the end of the year we will exceed the 12-million-mark for the first time,” says Airport CEO Michael Garvens.
More than anything, Eurowings is responsible for the increase in this current financial year. The Lufthansa affiliate showed significant growth in both the European and the long-haul sector. For instance, in comparison to 2016, the number of passengers on the new intercontinental flights, including destinations in the US and Africa, rose by 64 percent by the third quarter and reached 519,000. Alongside Eurowings, tourist carriers such as SunExpress, Pegasus and Wizz Air also benefitted from the high demand and the strong summer business. Together, the three airlines were able to welcome some 180,000 additional passengers by the end of September.
Growth has been slowed down a little by Air Berlin’s insolvency and Ryanair withdrawing its Berlin connection in the winter timetable. The capacity reductions affected can be compensated on a large scale, for instance by Eurowings introducing up to four flight pairs on the domestic route to Munich during the winter timetable earlier than planned.
New route to Cape Town in the winter time table
The winter timetable, starting on October 29th, includes 95 destinations operated by 22 airlines. One of the highlights will be the new low-cost longhaul non-stop connection from Cologne/Bonn to Cape Town, available from November 5th. Another attractive offer is the route to Windhoek in Namibia, which can now also be booked for winter, after its introduction in the summer. “These two non-stop flights from Cologne/Bonn are the only ones available to these destinations from North-Rhine Westphalia. The booking figures are very good”, says Garvens.
Long distance travellers will also love the connection to Lisbon operated by TAP Air Portugal. Numerous transfer connections – in particular to South America - are on offer from Lisbon. The Irish carrier Ryanair extends its route network in the winter timetable by eight destinations, including Sevilla, Vitoria (Spain), Vilnius (Lithuania) and Marrakech (Morocco), all of which will be served twice a week. Besides that, Ryanair adds Bologna, Bristol, Manchester and Treviso to its network. In addition to this, Norwegian will again fly to Alicante, Málaga and Las Palmas on Gran Canaria this winter.
The good economic situation also brings along a significant growth in the air cargo sector, the Airport’s second main pillar. By the end of the third quarter, the cargo turnover had already reached 606,191 tons, a plus of 7 percent compared to the previous year. By the end of the year, the amount of cargo will have reached 830,000 tons (+6%). “We haven`t experienced such a growth spurt for five years now,” says Airport CEO Garvens, and he adds: “This puts Cologne/Bonn among the front runners in European express cargo airports contest.”
As in the years before, this positive development in both traffic segments brings Cologne Bonn Airport a positive annual result. At the end of the year, the result will be 4.1 million Euros (2016: 6.3 Mio. Euros). Turnover increases by 1.2 million Euros to 320.3 Million.
Transversal runway will be compeleted earlier
The renovation of the runway system is proceeding according to plan. Currently, the preparatory work for the general refurbishment of the main runway, scheduled for April 2018, is on its way. The surface of the runway, which is 3,815 m long and 60 m wide, will be replaced step by step while traffic operations still continue.
The final refurbishment work, which is still in progress, will be completed much earlier than planned. The runway will be back in operation again from January 5th. The same applies for the short parallel runway, which is currently also out of operation due to construction work. The Airport invested a total of ca. 18 million Euros in the refurbishment of the transversal runway, which took place in 2015 and 2017 in two construction phases.
Construction work and Projects
An investor and operator competition for the construction of an airport hotel is currently in progress. This will end early 2018 and the tenders received will be assessed by an expert panel as regards their architecture. In the first quarter of 2018, the concrete planning and development of the terrain will start. The new hotel will be built between the terminals, right next to the Airport railway station. The plan is to have a hotel with ca. 200 rooms in the 3- to 4-star segment.
The construction of the replacement building for the DHL hall is also on schedule. Currently, the assembly of pre-manufactured parts is in progress; by the end of the year, the roof and the façade should be completed. In 2019, the entire project will be finished. The Airport Company has already assigned the development contracts for the planned transfer corridor – the airside connection between Terminal 1 and Terminal 2, which will make changing terminals easier..