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Vienna International Airport: 7.2% Plus in Passengers

Published: January 19, 2012; 10:16 · (Vindobona)

Vienna Airport set a new record in 2011 with a total of 21,106,292 passengers. This year-on-year increase of 7.2% places Vienna above the European average.

Vienna International Airport: 7.2% Plus in Passengers / Picture: © Airport Vienna

“The growth in passenger volume at Vienna outpaced other European airports in 2011, despite the events in Japan and North Africa, and we are pleased to have exceeded the threshold of 21m travellers. However, we have already identified a number of challenges for 2012: we are expecting an increase of only 0 to 1% in the number of passengers, in particular because of the uncertain economic outlook and the fleet structure changes announced by Austrian Airlines for this year. Our focus will therefore be placed, above all, on the sustainable protection of long-term growth perspectives and the strengthening of Vienna’s competitive ability. The most important project in this respect ? the successful start of operations in the Skylink is on the right track: over 370 test passengers have already taken part in trial operations and, by the end of April, this number will have risen to 3,000. Operations in the Skylink are expected to start during June 2012, and will further improve the quality of our location. The Skylink will provide space for more than 31 new shops and 19 gastronomy facilities“, explained Julian Jäger, member of the Management Board (COO) of Flughafen Wien AG.

“Despite strong economic headwinds, we will be able to offset a substantial part of the pressure on earnings from the Skylink start-up due to the successful implementation of our cost reduction programme and the completed reorganisation. We are expecting an increase in revenue and, after impairment charges of € 74m in 2011, a further improvement in net profit which, however, will remain substantially below recent years. A total of € 160m will be invested in 2012 to hold debt at a stable level, while investments for the period up to 2015 were cut from € 650m to € 590 million. In spite of the FWAG hiring freeze, Vienna Airport is still a job creator for the region nearly 300 additional employees will be needed for the shops and restaurants in the new Skylink. With current market capitalisation of only approx. 70% of equity/carrying amount, the Flughafen Wien share is grossly undervalued and in no way reflects the overall positive outlook for the company. Although results for 2011 are not yet available, we can now say that the dividend recommendation will not be less than 50% of the prior year amount“, commented Günther Ofner, member of the Management Board (CFO) of Flughafen Wien AG, on the outlook for 2012.

The number of passengers travelling to the Middle East rose by 3.7%. Traffic to Eastern Europe and Western Europe increased 14.9% and 7.0%, respectively. Flight movements (take-offs and landings) remained constant at 246,157, while maximum take-off weight (MTOW) rose by 3.7%, above all due to the use of larger aircraft. In spite of the strong growth in passenger traffic during 2011, Vienna remains one of the most punctual airports in Europe and, in international comparison, is ranked ahead of the other Lufthansa hubs in Munich, Zurich and Frankfurt.

The highest number of passengers travelling to Western Europe was recorded by Frankfurt with 538,458, followed by London with 459,187 and Zurich with 428,927. The ranking for Eastern Europe shows Moscow with 285,170 passengers, followed by Bucharest with 198,299 and Sofia with 165,022. The most passengers on long-haul flights were recorded by Bangkok with 103,359, followed by New York with 84,325 and Tokyo with 72,222. In 2011 Vienna International Airport offered direct scheduled connections to a total of 174 destinations throughout the world.

The volume of cargo (incl. trucking) handled by Vienna Airport fell 6.2% year-on-year to 277,784 tonnes in 2011. Air cargo declined 8.9% to 199,809 tonnes, while trucking rose by 1.7% to 77,976 tonnes.

Malta Airport handled 3,506,521 passengers in 2011, which represents a new record and a plus of 6.5% in comparison with 2010. Friedrichshafen Airport handled 571,709 passengers, for a year-on-year decline of 3.2%. Košice Airport recorded a 0.3% decrease in the number of passengers to 266,143 in 2011.

Construction work on the terminal extension VIE-Skylink has been largely completed and preparations for the start-up are now in progress. Trials with test passengers began on 5 January 2012, and the start of operations is scheduled for June 2012. From the current point of view, the maximum planned costs are expected to total less than € 770m.

The investment programme for the period up to 2015 was cut from € 650m to € 590m; the corporate structure was streamlined; the construction area was reorganized; and key functions such as controlling, procurement and personnel were strengthened. Measures were also introduced to reduce internal operating costs and personnel expenses, the latter through a decrease in overtime work and unused vacation time as well as a hiring freeze for vacant positions and new employment. These measures are designed to sustainably improve the company’s earning power and to strengthen the development of the share price. Flughafen Wien AG has a sound potential to realise these goals because of Vienna‘s attractive positioning as a hub to Eastern Europe, the high quality of handling services, growth perspectives through the expansion of capacity and market opportunities in the non-aviation sector.

For 2012 and against the backdrop of an expected weak economic environment Flughafen Wien AG is forecasting an increase of 0 to 1% in the number of passengers as well as a decline of 0 to 1% in flight movements and 2 to 3% in maximum take-off weight (MTOW).