Flughafen Zürich AG: Half Year 2022
Ad hoc announcement pursuant to Art. 53 LR
Traffic volumes recovered significantly after travel restrictions and preventive measures were lifted at the beginning of the year. The upturn is also reflected in the key financial figures, with Flughafen Zürich AG posting consolidated profit of CHF 55.4 million. Compared with the first six months of the previous two years, this marks its first return to half-year profit.
Trend in revenue
Following the temporary 10% reduction in flight operations charges (with the exception of emissions and noise charges) in 2021, charges were returned to their original level at the beginning of 2022. Along with significantly higher passenger volumes at Zurich Airport, flight operations charges improved by CHF 125.6 million to CHF 179.9 million.
Total aviation fees and other aviation revenue amounted to CHF 23.9 million, an increase of CHF 13.9 million.
Total aviation revenue rose by CHF 140.4 million (+214%) to CHF 205.9 million. Compared with the first half of 2019, aviation revenue was at 65%.
Non-aviation revenue increased by 27% to CHF 252.4 million, which is roughly 93% of the figure for the first half of 2019.
Total commercial and parking revenue rose by 31% year on year to CHF 111.6 million. Due to the recovery in commercial revenue, no new rent concessions had to be agreed with commercial partners in the past six-month period. The arrangements agreed in the years of the pandemic were recognised as assets in accordance with IFRS 16 and are now being amortised over the remaining term of the respective contracts.
Real estate revenue remained solid, rising by 11% to CHF 82.5 million. This rise is attributable primarily to additional rental income in connection with the Circle and higher energy and utility cost allocations.
Revenue from services rose by 49% to CHF 19.8 million, primarily due to volume effects.
The increase in revenue from international airport business to CHF 38.5 million is due to the more rapid recovery at foreign airport holdings and higher income from construction projects (concession accounting). Factoring out the income statement-neutral income from construction projects, revenue in international airport business climbed by 57%.
Operating expenses increased by 28% year on year to CHF 220.1 million. After adjustment for expenses for construction projects (concession accounting), operating expenses were 11% lower than in the first half of 2019.
As the option of short-time working compensation was discontinued at the end of February 2022, personnel expenses rose by CHF 14.3 million compared with the prior-year period to CHF 94.4 million (+18%). Costs for police and security rose by CHF 14.7 million year on year (+41%) due to higher passenger volumes.
Energy and waste costs showed a rise of CHF 7.7 million (+89%) to CHF 17.2 million, reflecting factors such as higher raw materials prices for heat generation and higher volumes.
Operating and consolidated result
Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) increased by CHF 146.1 million year on year to CHF 238.3 million (+158%). Compared with the first half of 2019, EBITDA stood at 78%.
Depreciation and amortisation were up on the prior-year figure of CHF 134.8 million to CHF 142.0 million due especially to additional depreciation charges for the Circle.
The finance result changed by CHF -15.4 million year on year to stand at CHF -26.9 million. In addition to fluctuations in the value of the financial assets of the Airport Zurich Noise Fund, it primarily reflected higher interest payments at the Brazilian subsidiaries attributable to increased levels of inflation.
The consolidated result for the past six-month period increased markedly to a profit of CHF 55.4 million (2021: loss of CHF 45.1 million).
In the reporting period, Flughafen Zürich AG’s investment in property, plant and equipment, projects in progress and airport operator projects totalled CHF 105.6 million (2021: CHF 108.7 million), of which CHF 92.4 million (2021: CHF 87.9 million) was invested at the Zurich site.
The single biggest project at the Zurich site was the refurbishment and expansion of the baggage sorting system. Other major projects included the renovation of runway 10/28, prorated investments in the completion of the Circle and the expansion of landside passenger areas.
Assets and financial position
Thanks to the continuing recovery, the company’s liquidity also showed an increase. As at mid-2022, cash and cash equivalents (excluding noise-related funds) amounted to almost CHF 600 million, with the Zurich site accounting for just under CHF 500 million. It is currently planned to use the high liquidity to repay the CHF 400 million debenture maturing in April 2023.
Starting from cash flow from operating activities of CHF 234.6 million and investments in property, plant and equipment, projects in progress and airport operator projects totalling CHF 105.6 million, free cash flow for the reporting period came to CHF 129.0 million (2021: CHF –39.0 million).
The travel restrictions in place as a result of the pandemic were largely lifted in the first half of 2022 and buoyant travel led to the continuing recovery being slightly stronger than expected. Planning for the winter months is more difficult from a current perspective. Passenger numbers at the Zurich site are expected to rise to slightly more than 20 million passengers this year, roughly two-thirds of the 2019 level.
Aviation revenue will mirror traffic volumes. Non-aviation revenue is also expected to be on a positive trend, firstly due to further revenue growth at the Circle and secondly thanks to international business activities, where growth momentum is stronger.
While the company continues to focus on cost discipline, it anticipates a year-on-year rise in costs in 2022. Firstly, the short-time working that protected the company from extensive personnel adjustments during the crisis was discontinued at the end of February. Secondly, the expected growth in passenger numbers will result in higher security and infrastructure costs. Higher energy costs and general inflation will likewise push up costs. Overall, however, operating expenses – excluding expenses from construction projects – can be kept below the 2019 level.
Due to the continuing recovery, Flughafen Zürich AG expects consolidated profit for the year as a whole to be in the low triple-digit millions.
Investment will amount to approximately CHF 400 million in 2022, with the Zurich site and subsidiaries abroad each accounting for half of this sum.
The 2021 Interim Report of Flughafen Zürich AG is available under