Interim report: Stable trend in passenger numbers in the first nine months of 2019
In the first nine months of the year, 23.3 million passengers travelled through Copenhagen Airports. This was on level with the record year of 2018. Lower airport charges for the airlines decreased revenues from the aeronautical part of the business. On the other hand, non-aeronautical revenues increased, benefiting from the new restaurant and shopping areas in the terminals. CPH continued the efforts to pave the way for a sustainable transition of the aviation industry, aiming to significantly reduce the sector’s climate impact.
Copenhagen Airports recorded a profit before tax of DKK 1,0741.1 million for the first nine months of 2019, down 10.0% on the same period of 2018. The performance was based on revenue of DKK 3,298.9 million – 2.9% less than for the same period of 2018. The decline in revenue and profit before tax mainly resulted from the reduction in airport charges introduced gradually since 1 April 2018.
Overall, passenger activity was on par with the record set in 2018. In the period from January to September, 23.3 million passengers passed through the terminals of Copenhagen Airports – a minor decline of 0.1%. The trend in passenger numbers was adversely affected by the bankruptcies of Primera Air and WOW Air, the impact of the SAS pilot’s strike as well as Norwegian’s strategic adjustments of its traffic programme. During the same period, the number of passengers using Copenhagen Airport as a hub on their way to other destinations increased by 2.3%.
Sound underlying growth in passenger numbers
“Excluding extraordinary items such as bankruptcies and the SAS strike, CPH recorded underlying growth in departing passenger numbers of approx. 2%. This was driven mainly by growth in transfer passenger numbers, which serves to underline our position as a European hub. At the same time, we saw slightly fewer locally departing passengers, and domestic traffic also showed a declining trend,” said Thomas Woldbye, CEO of Copenhagen Airports.
In total, the number of locally departing passengers declined by 0.6%, whereas the proportion of transfer passengers grew by 2.3%. Measured by the number of operations, traffic on intercontinental routes grew by 8.2% over the period compared to the same period of last year. Conversely, the number of operations on short-haul routes within Europe fell by 1.0%, also driven by the extraordinary flight cancellations.
Shopping and new food court area increase non-aeronautical revenue
Last year, Copenhagen Airports opened a new area of 4,000 sqm between Pier A and Pier B in Terminal 2. Located after the security checkpoint, the area accommodates more than 20 new shops and restaurants as well as extra seating for passengers and a new children’s play area.
Together with an improved shopping and brand mix, the expansion contributed to growth in non-aeronautical revenue for the first nine months of 2019 – a total rise of 2.0% on the same period last year.
Opening of Pier E and new Airport Square
Earlier this year, the 36,000 sqm Pier E opened with passenger areas, aircraft gates and a new passport control facility. The terminal areas were expanded in response to the growing passenger numbers, and Pier E helps reduce waiting times and address future capacity challenges. The next stage of Pier E is scheduled for completion in 2020. In addition, construction has commenced on a new baggage factory and expansion of Terminal 3 after the security checkpoint.
In September, Copenhagen Airports opened a brand new outdoor area between Terminals 2 and 3 – the Airport Square, dedicated both to travellers and neighbours of the airport. It is therefore designed as an open space with seating and café areas for the grown-ups and a playground for the kids.
“We are currently investing billions of kroner in developing the airport of the future – to be in tune with passenger demand for a good travel experience and airlines’ space requirements for their new and more energy-efficient aircraft. In 2019 alone, we expect to invest more than DKK 2 billion, which will help ensure that we maintain our position as one of the world’s most efficient and attractive airports in every respect,” said Thomas Woldbye.
Sustainable transition of the aviation industry
In March a new and ambitious climate strategy for Copenhagen Airports was launched. The strategy aims to make the airport carbon neutral already this year through compensatory measures, and the ambition is for the airport to become completely emission free by 2050. In 2030, this is to be achieved in respect of airport activities, including its surface access modes, while emissions from air traffic must be eliminated by 2050. Delivering the strategy will require concrete solutions that can facilitate a sustainable transition of the aviation industry. These are being worked on with details to be announced as they become available.
CPH therefore supports a new initiative by the Danish aviation industry to establish a new climate foundation for Danish aviation. Funding of the foundation will be provided by charging passengers a mandatory climate contribution. The aim is for the climate foundation to generate annual proceeds of up to DKK 300 million, which will be used to invest in tangible green solutions that make a real difference to the climate.
“We see the foundation as a key tool in creating truly sustainable, alternative aircraft fuel. The technology is already available, but we have yet to invest in solutions that can broaden its use on a larger scale. This is one area where the foundation can contribute,” said Thomas Woldbye.
The full-year outlook is unchanged from the guidance given in the interim report for the first half of 2019. Copenhagen Airports expect the total number of passengers to be in line with 2018. Revenue growth is expected to decline by 2-3% compared to 2018.
Profit before tax in 2019 is expected to be in the range of DKK 1,250-1,350 million, excluding one-off items. Results are affected by the reduction of charges in 2018 and the new charges agreement concluded with the airlines as well as the SAS pilot strike and the adjustments in airlines’ traffic programmes.
Further information, please contact: Kenni Leth, Head of Press Relations of Copenhagen Airports, tel. +45 3231 2800