Cologne Bonn Airport

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Growth boost brings Cologne/Bonn more profit


The major growth in passenger numbers in the past financial year 2015 has brought Cologne Bonn Airport more profit. After taxes, the airport earned EUR 5.1 million and with that EUR 2.0 million more than the previous year. 10.3 million passengers at year-end meant 9.4 percent more when compared to 2014 and the second-best traffic volume in the company’s history after 2007. Moderate growth was realized in air cargo: Volumes rose to 758,000 metric tons (+0.4%), reaching a new all-time high.

“2015 was an exceptional year for Cologne Bonn Airport. We were able to  grow strongly in terms of passenger numbers and, through our strategic focus on low-cost traffic, were one of the big winners among the airports in Germany. The launch of the Eurowings long-haul services was yet another milestone for the airport,” said airport chief Michael Garvens, Chairman of the Management Board of Flughafen Köln/Bonn GmbH, when presenting the 2015 balance sheet today. Growth drivers in 2015 were the low-cost carriers, especially Ireland’s Ryanair, which has expanded its route network substantially.

Passenger traffic 2015  

With growth of 9.4 percent, Cologne Bonn Airport recorded the strongest growth among the major German airports in 2015. In July,  August, September and October more than 1 million passengers were handled in four consecutive months. Responsible for that were above all two airlines: Ryanair, which has again broadened its offering in Cologne/Bonn, and the Lufthansa subsidiary, Eurowings, which since November 2015 has been operating to long-haul destinations from Cologne Bonn Airport – among others in Asia and the Caribbean. Together, the two airlines carried around 945,500 additional passengers in 2015. Ryanair alone recorded an increase of over 890,000 passengers     

A further 220,000 additional passengers came from Turkish Airlines, TUIfly and Wizz Air, as well as Turkey’s Onur Air, which has included Cologne/Bonn as a new destination in its schedule.

Air cargo 2015

With 758,000 metric tons handled, the air cargo volume reached a new all-time high. Growth was around 0.4 percent and thus slightly above the market average in Germany (+0.1%). “Given a weak global economy and the ailing economy in China, we are delighted by the stability in our air cargo business”, added Garvens.

Financial results 2015

At EUR 54.6 million, the operating result (EBITDA) in 2015 was slightly below the previous year’s of EUR 57.7 million (-5.4%). The reason for that is above all higher cost of materials. All other key performance indicators are clearly higher: Sales revenues climbed by 8.4 percent to EUR 297.4 million. The income in the non-aviation segment (incl. shopping, hospitality, rents and parking) have for the first time passed the mark of EUR 100 million and, at EUR 103.9 million  (+ 17%), reached a new record for the sixth time in succession. With that, the business outside the primary flight operations makes up a good third of the airport’s total revenues.

Cologne/Bonn Airport still realizes its highest turnover with its core business, flight operations. EUR 184.8 million were generated from charges and fees and the services on the ground for aircraft handling.

The biggest item on the expenses side is the personnel costs. They added up to EUR 117.9 million in 2015 and with that are at about the same level as the previous year (+ 2.4%). The cost of materials ran to EUR 109.8 and was much higher than the previous year’s level (EUR 84.2 million). The reason is above all higher expenditure for facility maintenance, for instance for the interim overhaul of the main runway (EUR 4 million). 

Because of the good economic development in financial year 2015, the airport operator was able to further reduce its debts. As of 31 December, liabilities ran to EUR 289.2 million. That is EUR 28.9 million, or 9.1 percent, less than in 2014. With that, the airport has been able to reduce its liabilities by EUR 121 million in the last six years. Equity rose to EUR 267.8 million (+ 1.9%). The equity ratio at the end of financial year 2015 was 37.4 percent. With that, the equity ratio has improved by 2.8 percent since 2012.

As of 31 December 2015, the airport operator employed 1,796 people.

Traffic trends 2016

In 2016, the growth trend at Cologne Bonn Airport is continuing unabated. With significant double-digit growth rates when compared to the same months last year (January +30%, February +32%, March +22%) the first quarter represents the strongest start of the year in the airport’s history. At the same time Cologne Bonn Airport is the airport with the strongest growth in Germany.

“The first quarter was a dream start into the new year and has brought us growth rates in the passenger numbers like at times of the first low-cost boom”, said Michael Garvens. The positive development is attributable above all to Ryanair and Eurowings. When compared to the same period last year, Ryanair grew by almost 360,000 passengers between January and March. Eurowings, which has only been operating at Cologne Bonn since November, as well as Lufthansa and Turkish Airlines, together account for around 200,000 additional passengers in the 1st quarter 2016.

Financial year 2016

The airport expects the trend towards higher passenger numbers to continue over the course of the year. “We are assuming that 2016 will be our best year so far. For the first time ever, we will be welcoming far more than 11 million passengers. With that we are consolidating our market position as the leading low-cost airport in Germany”, said Garvens. Cologne Bonn Airport has raised its original passenger forecast (11.2 million, +8%) for the current year and is now forecasting 11.6 million passengers for 2016. That represents an increase of 12 percent when compared to the previous year. A moderate growth to 760,000 metric tons is planned in the cargo area. And Cologne/Bonn will also be among the German airports that generate profits in 2016 too: Revenues will pass the mark of EUR 300 million for the first time. The post-tax result planned for 2016 is around EUR 4.1 million.

Thanks to Eurowings, Cologne/Bonn can for the first time boast an extensive offering of long-haul services in the new summer timetable. Eurowings will depart for 9 long-haul destinations 18 times a week. There are 6 weekly flights to Boston (from 1.6.) and Miami (from 1.9.) in the USA. Mauritius will also be on the timetable from May onwards. As was already the case in the winter, Eurowings will be operating long-haul flights to Thailand (Phuket, Bangkok), the Caribbean (Cuba, Dominican Republic) and Cancun in Mexico.

Ryanair is also expanding its schedule when compared to last summer by 9 destinations. New among others are Malta, Corfu, Copenhagen and Valencia. The Irish low-cost carrier will be operating to 20 destinations from Cologne/Bonn in the summer.

Over the course of the summer schedule a growth boost is expected especially in European traffic. Ryanair is expanding its offering by 86 additional departures per week, and Eurowings (formerly Germanwings) by 39 departures in its European operations. With Sibiu and Iasi, Blue Air is adding two new destinations and is increasing flights to Bucharest. In addition, with Borajet, Pobeda, Small Planet Airlines, Tailwind Airlines and Tunisair, five new airlines will be operating from Cologne/Bonn, so the monthly mark of 1 million passengers will be exceeded from May to September.

In 2016, the airport will be implementing measures to overhaul its runway system. Probably from July onwards, the interim overhaul of the main runway will begin, which will be resurfaced and renewal of which will be completed with the general overhaul in 2018. Ahead of that, the crosswind runway, which will have to bear the brunt of traffic during the overhaul phase of the main runway, will be completely overhauled in the coming year. “A state-of-the-art and powerful infrastructure is the basis for the future successful development of the airport”, said Garvens.

The project for the so-called “T-Walk” will begin in the middle of this year. This involves a connecting structure on airside between Terminals 1 and 2. This will facilitate connecting between the terminals for transit passengers. A central baggage sorting system will also be built as part of the project. The investor and operator competition for the construction of a second airport hotel will likewise begin in 2016. A 4-star hotel with around 200 rooms will be built in the immediate vicinity of the terminals. Apart from that, the airport will demolish car park 1 at the end of the year and build a new one at the same place. The new car park 1 will have over 2,000 additional parking spaces (in total 3,200) and will be equipped with the latest technology. Besides VIP parking spaces close to the terminals, passengers can in the future also use product features such as ticketless admission and searching for their cars via an app.

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