COLOGNE Cologne/Bonn airport is expecting a decline in passenger traffic in 2018. Thus the airport is trying to be more profitable. Parking will be more expensive.
Cologne/Bonn airport remains on a growth path. Until the end of the year, 13 million passengers will have started or landed from there - fiver percent more than in 2017. The freight business of the airport expects 870,000 tons of handled goods and cargo. That would be a plus of four percent in comparison to the previous year. These figures were reported in the airport’s quarterly statement. At the same time the company expects a decline in passenger numbers as well as an increase in renovation costs. The airport is therefore looking for new revenue sources and announced cost-cutting measures at the same time.
„2018 will be a turbulent year for the industry. There have been many strike actions, freak weather situations and capacity bottlenecks for airlines and airspace. We are all the more glad that our traffic figures are this good“, said Johan Vanneste, chairman of the executive management at Cologne/Bonn airport. In the first three quarters of the year, just about ten million passengers were recorded - a plus of five percent in comparison to the previous year.
Growth drivers are - according to the airport - mainly Eurowings on the short and medium haul routes as well as Ryanair, Condor and Easyjet. With their commitment they have compensated for the deficit created by the insolvencies of Air Berlin and Niki.
In the freight sector, 631,000 tons of goods and cargo were handled - four percent more than in 2017 With a predicted 870,000 tons until the end of the year a new peak quantity could be reached. Vanneste said he expects a profit of one million Euro for 2018. „In comparison to 330 million Euro turnover this is too small a result“, he added. In 2017 it was 3.8 million Euro.
High costs for renovation
The airport had recently high expenses, for example for renovation works. Currently the large airstrip is being renewed. In the next ten years, over 600 million Euro will need to be provided for renovation and restoration jobs. „To be able to shoulder this, we have to continuously make more money. That’s why the improvement in our profitability has the highest priority“, said Vanneste.
Due to the loss of the Eurowings long haul route, reductions at Ryanair and airline consolidations the airport expects a decrease in passengers by approximately one million. The airport, where 14,800 employees work, wants to create „slimmer cost-structures“ and „competitive staff cost schemes“. At the moment outsourcing of the ground handling services is being considered.
Parking to be dearer
To become more profitable, the airport wants to expand its two-pillar strategy (passengers and freight). It is also considering to commercialise spaces - for companies - to generate new revenue sources. The airport speaks of the development of landside sites - by building an „Airport City“. „We have to exploit all the potential of the airport“, said Vanneste.
Longterm parking will be more expensive from November 1: Day and week passes will be higher in the parking lots P1, P2 and P3.
As the airport reported further, the „increase in the profitability should be concurrent with the acceptance of the air traffic by the residents and a sustainable treatment of the environment. The airport is often criticised especially due to the night flights . Many residents are suffering because of the nightly plane noise. The number of night flights has increased considerably over the years.
Original text: Dominik Pieper
Translation: Mareike Graepel