The recovery of air traffic at Royal Schiphol Groups airports has so far been moderate. The interim results for the first six months of 2021 show that the COVID-19 pandemic and related travel restrictions still have an unprecedented impact. At the same time, Royal Schiphol Group continued its strategy of building back better, with multiple innovations to improve the quality of the airports.
In the first six months, Amsterdam Airport Schiphol experienced a drop in passenger numbers of 57.1% to 5.6 million (HY 2020: 13.1 million and HY 2019: 34.5 million). The number of air traffic movements at Schiphol was down by 25.8% to 86,037 (HY 2020: 115,952 and HY 2019: 242,107). Cargo volumes showed an increase of 27.7% to 838,000 tonnes (HY 2020: 656,000 tonnes). The number of passengers at Eindhoven Airport dropped to 288,109 (- 74.4%) and the number of air traffic movements to 3,745 (- 55.1%). Rotterdam The Hague Airport saw a decline of 79.8% to 55,484 passengers, with 690 air transport movements (- 72.6%) in the first half of 2021.
The net result for the first half of 2021 resulted in a loss of 158 million euros compared to a loss of 246 million euros for the first half of 2020 (HY 2019: positive result of 133 million euros). By excluding the fair value gains and losses and NOW government grants received, the net result slightly decreased to a loss of 258 million euros in the first half-year of 2021 compared to a loss of 250 million euros (-3,3%) in the first six months of 2020.
Schiphol reduced overall operating expenses by around 20% by scaling down its operations and implementing cost-saving measures, including services and contracts. In March Schiphol Group finalized the restructuring of the organization, adapting to the new circumstances and improving ways of working. In 2020, Schiphol reduced its expenditures for capital projects by around 25%. This continued in 2021.
CEO Dick Benschop of Royal Schiphol Group: “So far in 2021 we have seen recovery, but not as much as we expected. With higher vaccination rates and gradual lifting of travel restrictions, we are moderately positive for the second half-year. Meanwhile, we keep investing in the quality of our service and the quality of the living environment in order to build back better.”
Safe and responsible travel
To prevent transmission of COVID-19 and to give passengers and staff confidence in safe and responsible air travel, a full set of measures is in place. This includes information for passengers, the use of test and/or vaccination declarations, the wearing of face masks, improved ventilation and cleaning and the installation of sanitising equipment (including UV-C cleaning). Benschop: “International alignment on measures and ways to travel is crucial. The Coronacheck-app is an important step to make travelling easier. Governments should align on lifting travel restrictions for fully vaccinated passengers. The EU has taken important steps and reciprocity is needed.”
Innovations and improvements
Schiphol delivered, together with LVNL, a multiannual programme for reducing noise nuisance (www.minderhinderschiphol.nl). The Notify app- was launched, which gives Schiphol’s neighbours insight into air traffic at their location by providing real-time information.
A major project that has been delivered is the renovation of Departure Hall 1, which provides passengers more spacious environment and comfort. With the completion of the renovation, all departure and transfer entryways at Schiphol are now equipped with new CT scans, whereby passengers can leave any liquids and electronics in their hand baggage.
Other innovations Schiphol completed or worked on in the first six months of 2021 are a trial with an autonomous baggage tractor, sustainable taxiing, research into new technology to reduce concentrations of ultrafine particles, participation in the e-fuel plant Synkero, participation in the electric flying initiative ‘Power Up’ and pre-ordering food and beverages in the Schiphol app.
Outlook for 2021
In line with our earlier outlook, we estimate that the recovery of passenger volumes to 2019 levels will not happen before 2024. In view of the traffic realization in the first half of 2021 Schiphol Group lowers its expected amount of passengers for the full year from 27-37 million (as communicated on 19 February 2021) to 21-28 million for Amsterdam. The expected number of flights for the full year is between 240.000 and 275.000.
Other key developments in the first half of 2021
- The total number of passengers at the airports of Schiphol Group further fell by 58.9% to 6.0 million (HY 2020: 14.5 million).
- In the first six months of 2021, Schiphol invested 268 million euros in amongst others the redevelopment of Departure Hall 1, the realisation of the new pier and other construction projects at its airports.
- Royal Schiphol Group launched and priced 1,000 million euros in bonds under the Euro Medium Term Note programme.
- Royal Schiphol Group extended the strategic partnership with BAM, Heijmans and VolkerWessels until at least 2025. The core aim of the partnership is to maintain the existing infrastructure at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol.
- After a full year of partnership with the municipality of Amsterdam, 132 people with a disadvantage in the labour market have started work at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol.
- Amsterdam Airport Schiphol was named cargo airport of the year at the Air Cargo Week World Air Cargo Awards.
- Amsterdam Airport Schiphol reopened the Privium ClubLounge West. The renovated Privium ClubLounge West – previously known as Privium Airside Lounge – is an addition to the service offered by a Privium Plus membership at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol.
- On July 28 Aéroports de Paris and Royal Schiphol Group announced they will not renew the HubLink industrial cooperation agreement, which will expire on 30 November 2021. The current agreements provide a mechanism to unwind the cross-shareholding between Aéroports de Paris and Royal Schiphol Group which will come into effect on that date. This mechanism organizes an orderly sale of the shares over a period of 18 months, i.e. until 30 May 2023.
- Rotterdam The Hague Airport has been accredited at the highest level within the Airport Carbon Accreditation program of the international organization Airports Council International. Only four airports in the world took precedence. Rotterdam The Hague Airport is the second in Europe to achieve this so-called Level 4+.
- The European Commission unveiled ‘Fit for 55’. This package contains measures that will support Europe’s climate policy framework and put the EU on track for a 55% reduction in carbon emissions by 2030. Overall, Royal Schiphol Group is positive about the proposals, in particular about the blending obligation for sustainable fuels.
- In February, The Supervisory Board appointed Robert Carsouw as Royal Schiphol Group’s Chief Financial Officer (CFO) as of 1 April.
- Elfrieke van Galen joined the Supervisory Board of Royal Schiphol Group. Her appointment was confirmed at the shareholders’ meeting on 13 April, for a period of four years.