Athens International Airport posted its best results ever in 2019, a few months before the coronavirus pandemic led to a 98% drop in income in April-May 2020. Given the effects of the pandemic, it will take years before AIA matches its record 2019 numbers again.
For the first time last year there were days when more than 100,000 passengers used the airport. For the whole year, passenger traffic was a record 25.57 million – 1.4 million, or 6%, more than in 2018.
This increase in traffic is also reflected in turnover, which rose 5.84% to €506.7 million. Earnings before interest, tax and asset depreciation (EBITDA) rose 3.41%, to €336.6 million. Pre-tax profit was about €225 million and net profit rose to €174.4 million, from €171 million in 2018, an increase of 1.99%.
Due to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, the company reserves the right to make a decision on dividend later.
The company had €128 million in cash at the end of 2019, while total assets were €867.4 million.
In 2019, AIA adopted a plan to almost double capacity from 26 million to 50 million passengers annually. It will be the first major expansion of the airport since its 2001 opening.
“In February 2019, the 20-year Concession Extension Agreement (2026-46) was successfully concluded, following its ratification by the Hellenic Parliament, enabling the company to develop its strategic, business and investment plans for the new extended period,” AIA said in a statement.
To face the effects of the pandemic, AIA is prepared to cut operating costs, including payroll, as well as put off a capital expenditure program.
The airport has also delayed payment of part of the principal on a bond and an €88 million loan from the European Investment Bank, as well as the €48 million concession fee to the state, since the pandemic constitutes force majeure. If necessary, AIA will take an additional loan of up to €140 million.
“Following a year of historic developments, 2020 poses significant challenges raised by the Covid-19 pandemic. The unprecedented situation… has already had a severe impact on… the financial performance of the company during the second quarter of the current year,” AIA said.