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German airport operator Fraport plunges to loss as pandemic hits passenger numbers

·Germany Correspondent, Yahoo Finance UK
·1-min read
Passengers at Frankfurt airport in Germany, on 19 Augusts. Photo: Lu Yang/Getty
Passengers at Frankfurt airport in Germany, on 19 Augusts. Photo: Lu Yang/Getty

German airport operator Fraport (FRA.DE) posted gloomy third-quarter results on Wednesday as the COVID-19 pandemic crippled air travel and collapsed passenger numbers.

Fraport reported net group losses of €537m (£484m, $627m) in its interims third quarter release today, which included €208m in cost-saving measures to lower personnel costs.

In the year to end of September, revenue at the Fraport Group revenue was down by almost 54% from the same period last year, to €1.32bn.

“Our industry continues to navigate through a very difficult situation. With infection rates rising again across Europe in the past few weeks, governments have largely reintroduced or widened travel restrictions,” Fraport chief executive Stefan Schulte said in a statement. “Airlines are downsizing their flight schedules even more.”

The outlook for the rest of this year and 2021 remains bleak, according to Schulte. He said passenger numbers for the whole of 2020 will be about 18 million to 19 million, over 70% down on 2019.

“Even in 2023-2024 we will probably only achieve 80% to 90%. So there is still a long way to go,” Schulte said.

READ MORE: Nine years late and billions over budget, Berlin’s international airport opens mid-pandemic

The Airports Council International Europe warned in October that 193 of Europe’s 740 commercial airports could go bankrupt in the coming months if passenger traffic does not start to recover by the year-end.

Airlines have needed huge bailouts to stay aloft. German flag carrier Lufthansa (LHA.DE) received a €9bn state bailout, and Air France-KLM (AF.PA) got a €10bn bailout from the French and Dutch governments.

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