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Frankfurt expects more passengers

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FRANKFURT — Despite bottlenecks in passenger traffic, Frankfurt airport operator Fraport expects more passengers in 2022 than before. Instead of 39 to 46 million, 45 to 50 million passengers are expected in Frankfurt this year, the company announced in Frankfurt on Tuesday.

The record level of more than 70 million passengers from the pre-Corona 2019 year is still a long way off. Meanwhile, Fraport has reduced its remaining commitment to Russia’s St. Petersburg airport to zero. Therefore, the surplus could shrink to zero this year.

The news was positively received on the stock market. Fraport shares gained more than four and a half percent to 49 euros in the morning and were the undisputed leader of the MDax, the index for mid-size stocks. Paper traded 17% cheaper than at the start of the year.

In June, Frankfurt Airport exceeded the 5 million passenger threshold for the first time since the start of the pandemic and thus reached more than 75% of the pre-crisis level. However, shortcomings in handling led to long wait times, lost luggage and flight cancellations.

“This very dynamic recovery demands a lot from us operationally and repeatedly leads to unsatisfactory lack of punctuality,” said Fraport boss Stefan Schulte. We are still far from meeting our own quality requirements.

Stable flight operations

However, the measures taken had an effect and led to stable and regulated operation “on the whole”, Schulte said. In July, in addition to scheduled flight cancellations, Verdi’s one-day warning strike by Lufthansa ground staff put pressure on passenger numbers so that, according to initial reports, only 72.5 % of the pre-crisis figure have been reached.

In terms of freight, Fraport recorded a decline of 11.5% for Frankfurt in the first half of the year compared to the same period of the previous year. The closed airspace over Russia and the zero-Covid strategy in China are having a negative impact here.

Two special effects now influence earnings forecasts. Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (Ebitda) should now reach 850 to 970 million euros thanks to the sale of shares in Xi’an airport in China. So far, the council had planned 760 to 880 million here.

Fraport delists Russia

At the same time, however, the group completely canceled its engagement at St. Petersburg airport due to sanctions against Russia. Therefore, the main thing is that the group’s profit will only reach 0 to 100 million euros instead of the previously targeted 50 to 150 million euros, he said.

From an accounting point of view, Fraport thus lost its loan receivable of 163.3 million euros from Thalita Trading, which owns shares in the operating company of Saint Petersburg airport. Schulte explained that the value adjustment should not be confused with a stock sale. “We fully adhere to our demands. Contractually, a sale is still excluded until 2025.”

In the second quarter, Fraport surprisingly increased its turnover by 90% to 809 million euros compared to the same period of the previous year, which had been affected by the pandemic. Operating profit (Ebitda) increased by 14% to almost 338 million euros and was therefore above the average expected by analysts.

However, the surplus attributable to shareholders fell by more than 30% to a healthy 59 million euros following the depreciation of Russia. In view of the first half, there is even a loss of around 49 million euros.

© dpa-AFX | Illustration: Fraport AG | 08/09/2022 07:35

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Source aero.de

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