Zurich Airport: Financial Year 2019

Flughafen Zürich AG reported an encouraging result in 2019. In the reporting period, Flughafen Zürich AG’s revenue increased by 5.0% to CHF 1.2 billion. The airport operator posted a profit of CHF 309.1 million. Additional provisions (CHF 45.8 million after taxes) for sound insulation measures in the previous year depressed the result for 2018. When adjusted for this one-off effect, profit was lifted year-on-year by CHF 25.5 million or 9.0%.

Last year, 31.5 million people arrived at, departed from or transferred to other flights at Switzerland's biggest airport. Passenger figures thus reached a new record. Both aviation and non-aviation revenue increased in the reporting period. Against the backdrop of the encouraging business trend, the Board of Directors will propose to the General Meeting of Shareholders on April 16, 2020 an ordinary dividend that is CHF 0.20 higher than that of the previous year resulting in an ordinary dividend of CHF 3.90 per share and – as in the past four years – an additional dividend from capital contribution reserves of CHF 3.20 per share.

Traffic Volumes

A total of 31,507,692 passengers travelled via Zurich Airport in 2019, a year-on-year increase of 1.3%. The number of local passengers rose moderately by 0.1% to 22.2 million. The number of passengers transferring at Zurich Airport increased by 4.2% to 9.2 million. At 29.3%, the share of transfer passengers was above the previous year’s figure (+0.9 percentage points). Flight movements totalled 275,329 in 2019, down 1.1% from the prior-year period. A total of 451,827 tonnes of freight were transported via Zurich Airport. The freight volume thus declined by 8.4% over the previous year. There was a disproportionately steep rise in the number of peak days with over 100,000 passengers – 70 in the past year (2018: 63). Once again, the increase was handled smoothly thanks to forward planning, a motivated workforce and the professional cooperation of all the airport’s partner companies.

In the reporting period, Flughafen Zürich AG’s revenue increased from CHF 1,152.9 million to CHF 1,210.1 million (+5.0%). Of this figure, around 55% or CHF 661.5 million was attributable to aviation, corresponding to an increase of 0.7%. Non-aviation revenue increased by a total of 10.6% to CHF 548.6 million. In commercial operations, our partners lifted revenue by CHF 7.6 million to CHF 601.4 million last year, which translated into commercial revenue of CHF 134.3 million for Flughafen Zürich AG (+3.1%). The uplift in revenue from international airport business of CHF 43.7 million to CHF 126.5 million was primarily attributable to the expansion of the infrastructure of the airport in Florianópolis, as the infrastructure measures stipulated in the concession agreement were completed when the terminal opened in October 2019. 

Operating Expenses 
Operating expenses fell year-on-year by CHF 13.7 million to CHF 568.2 million, following the hike of CHF 57.6 million (before taxes) in last year’s cost basis due to extension of the sound insulation program. After adjusting for this one-off item, operating expenses rose by 8.4%, mainly as a result of the expansion of the infrastructure in Florianópolis. Operating expenses in Zurich fell by 0.4%. 

Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) increased by CHF 70.9 million to CHF 641.8 million. Factoring out the one-off effect in the prior-year period (increased provision for sound insulation measures), EBITDA improved by 2.1%, making the EBITDA margin 53.0%. 

Depreciation and Amortization
At CHF 238.7 million, depreciation and amortization remained below the previous year’s level of CHF 244.5 million. This was due in particular to some buildings reaching the end of their useful life. 

Earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) amounted to CHF 403.1 million in the reporting period (2018: CHF 326.5 million). In the previous year this result was affected by a one-off amount of CHF 57.6 million for the increase of the provision for sound insulation measures. 

Profit for the financial year just ended amounted to CHF 309.1 million, up CHF 71.3 million from the previous year. The above-mentioned additional provisions (CHF 45.8 million after taxes) for sound insulation measures had depressed the result of the prior-year period. When adjusted for this one-off effect, profit was lifted year-on-year by CHF 25.5 million or 9.0%. 

In the year under review, Flughafen Zürich AG invested CHF 359.7 million in ongoing projects at its Zurich base (2018: CHF 290.1 million). Investments in THE CIRCLE, which were higher than the previous year owing to the progress on this building project, contributed in large part to this figure. Further significant investments included the overhauling and expansion of the baggage sorting system plus projects for upgrading runway 28 and the airfield power supply systems. 

The coronavirus, which is currently spreading, will have a negative effect on the earnings of Flughafen Zürich AG. As it is not possible to estimate the impact any more closely, no financial outlook for the 2020 financial year can be provided at this time. 

Distribution of Profits
At the General Meeting of Shareholders on April 16, 2020, the Board of Directors will request a payment of both an ordinary dividend of CHF 3.90 per share and an additional dividend of CHF 3.20 per share, to be paid out of capital contribution reserves.

The 2019 Annual Report of Flughafen Zürich AG is available as an online annual report.