Vienna’s traffic recovery to begin in second half of year
Vienna Airport is optimistic that its passenger numbers will enjoy a “strong upswing” in the second half of the year as the vaccination drive to combat COVID-19 begins to have a positive impact on air travel.
Like most other airports, the Austrian gateway experienced a grim 2020 with the pandemic causing traffic levels to decline from a record high of 31.7 million in 2019 to just 7.8 million (-75%) last year.
And it is under no illusion that things will get back to normal any time soon, however, it believes that the road to recovery will begin in the second half of 2020, and has even gone as far as to predict that around 12.5 million passengers will have passed through its facilities by year-end.
Julian Jäger, co-CEO and member of member of the management board of operator, Flughafen Wien AG, says: “Last year was the most difficult as well as the most bizarre year in airport history.
“With a total of 7.8 million passengers, we registered a passenger volume we last witnessed 26 years ago, in 1994. The weakest day saw only 154 travellers at the airport.
“The first months of 2021 remain challenging, but an upturn is on the horizon. The vaccine has arrived internationally, and from today’s perspective should result in a significant increase in passenger volumes, particularly starting in the second half of 2021.
“We anticipate 12.5 million passengers at Vienna Airport, more than 70% in the second half of the year.
“However, common, EU-wide testing strategies and travel regulations are urgently required in order to return to a rudimentary freedom of travel and thus set the economy and tourism in motion again. This is the only way to successfully find our way out of the crisis.”
Co-CEO, Günther Ofner, notes: “Vienna Airport has successfully mastered the crisis, even if 2020 resulted in a net loss for the first time. With an equity ratio of about 60% and our being almost debt-free, we laid a solid foundation in the past profitable years with respect to our crisis resilience.
“The successfully implemented cost reduction programme, government support and the delay of major planned investments enables us to be more optimistic once again with respect to our business development in 2021 and return to profitability again.
“In spite of the difficult phase we are currently in, the growing confidence on the part of the population concerning the meaningfulness and effectiveness of the vaccination should lead more people to once again book holiday flights in the summer and autumn months.
“This is because flying will never be as inexpensive in the future as it is now. For this purpose, we are continuing our comprehensive measures to ensure safe and healthy travelling. Up until now about 130,000 people have had a COVID-19 PCR test done at Vienna Airport.”