News: Interim results 2020: Focus on safe and responsible travel after sharp fall in traffic due to COVID-19 pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has had an unprecedented impact on the airports of Royal Schiphol Group and the aviation industry as a whole. In the first six months, Amsterdam Airport Schiphol experienced a drop in passenger numbers of 62.1% to 13.1 million (HY 2019: 34.5 million). The number of air transport movements at Schiphol was down by 52.1% to 115,952 (HY 2019: 242,107). Cargo volumes showed a decline of 14.5% to 656,000 tonnes (HY 2019: 767,000 tonnes). Eindhoven Airport and Rotterdam The Hague Airport saw a significant decline in traffic as well.

Published on: 28 August 2020

The net result for the first half of 2020 resulted in a loss of 246 million euros compared with a profit of 133 million euros for the first half of 2019. By reducing its operations and closing part of Schiphol’s terminal during the first months of the crisis, Schiphol Group adapted to the new situation while remaining open and reducing its operational expenses. Schiphol Group has received the NOW1 government grant (Noodmaatregel Overbrugging Werkgelegenheid; temporary governmental compensation for labour costs) and applied for the NOW2 grant.

Safe and responsible travel

To prevent transmission of COVID-19 and to give passengers and staff confidence in safe and responsible air travel, a full set of measures is in place. This includes information for passengers, the use of health questionnaires, social distancing at the airports, the wearing of face masks, improved ventilation and cleaning, the installation of sanitising equipment (including UV-C cleaning) and risk-based testing of passengers. There is a need for further international collaboration to align travel requirements. Schiphol is in favour of a system of testing for travel to and from countries with an orange or red risk profile. This can reduce the need for travel bans and quarantine measures. The international response is currently insufficiently aligned and coordinated. This impacts air travel, and therefore economic recovery.

Impact on the Schiphol organisation

For 2020, Schiphol Group at this moment expects a decrease in passenger numbers of between 55% and 72% compared with 2019. The outlook for the coming years is very uncertain, and depends on the course of the pandemic, whether a vaccine becomes available, international coordination in travel measures, the profile of the economic recovery and behavioural changes by passengers and businesses. Scenarios for the return to 2019 traffic levels indicate that this will not happen until the 2023-2025 time frame. In light of this, Schiphol Group has decided to adjust its expenses to reflect the new outlook.

Schiphol Group aims to reduce overall operating expenses by approximately 20-25% in 2021 and 2022. The cost savings will be realised across all operating expenses, including services and contracts. This will, however, also mean a reduction in the number of jobs at Schiphol Group. The Management Board has put a request for advice to the Central Works Council ('Centrale Ondernemingsraad') on the organisational adjustments. A social plan will be developed with the unions. The job impact is still uncertain, but is expected to be in the order of several hundred positions out of a total workforce of around 3,000.

Various cost-saving measures have already been implemented. Schiphol has pro-actively decided not to pay out dividends for shareholders and variable income for management over 2019.

Schiphol Group has 1.5 billion euros in liquidity at its disposal per 30 June 2020, consisting of 0.5 billion euros in cash and deposits and 1.0 billion euros in committed undrawn bank facilities. This liquidity position is sufficient to cover at least a 12 month period in the various scenarios considered by management.

Download the full 2020 Interim Results