21.4 million passengers / Substantial growth in revenue and EBITDA / "Herkules 2009" savings programme in response to the crisis / EU notification for BBI loan guarantee started / BBI on schedule and within budget
2008 was the most successful year ever for Berlin Airports. With a record result of 21.4 million passengers being handled at the Capital Airport, the previous year's figure of 20 million was surpassed by 1.4 million in 2008. With an increase of around seven per cent, Berlin recorded the strongest growth amongst all German airports in the year just ended. "2008 was an excellent year for Berlin Airports. We were able to improve significantly on 2007 in all areas", underlined Dr. Rainer Schwarz, CEO of Berlin Airports at the company's press briefing on the annual results in Berlin.
Berlin's share of the German aviation market has once again increased and is now approximately 11 per cent. Besides Frankfurt and Munich, Berlin has established itself as the third most important national airport location in Germany and ranks 15th in Europe.
Substantial growth in revenue and EBITDA
The overall financial position of the company has improved on the previous year. The continuing rise in traffic services, a sustainable cost management programme, and higher fees generated by successively curtailing discounts have all had a positive impact on revenues in 2008 and thus on the earnings position of the company. Revenues from the aviation segment rose from 156 million euros in 2007 to 167.3 million euros in 2008, representing a 7.2 per cent increase. At 18.9 per cent, the increase in revenues from the non-aviation segment from 38.7 to 46 million euros was even greater. At 79.7 million euros, EBITDA – earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation – was up 18.4 per cent on 2007. At 324.3 million euros, the investment volume was 171.3 million euros higher than in the previous year. The biggest share of investment measures, around 300 million euros, was attributed to BBI.
"Herkules 2009" cost-cutting programme is the answer to the crisis
The entire aviation industry is faced with major challenges in light of the increasingly dramatic course the global economic crisis is taking. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has altered its forecast for passenger figures from -3 to -5.7 per cent. According to Schwarz: "The traffic results of the first three months show that the negative effects of the global economic crisis have left their mark on Berlin Airports. Our "Herkules 2009" cost-cutting programme is an effective management tool for counteracting the crisis. This year, we aim to save ten million euros in operating expenses."
Berlin is not following the general market trend
The average decline in passengers across all 24 German commercial airports amounted to 11 per cent in the first two months of this year. Berlin recorded a decrease of approximately eight per cent in the same period, proving that it is not following the general market trend. Berlin is highly diversified compared to other German commercial airports. Both scheduled and low-cost traffic complement each other nicely. Berlin is the biggest low-cost market in Continental Europe with substantial growth potential. One in two Berlin passengers already takes advantage of the wide range of offers by low-cost carriers.
BBI funding well on the way
In order to secure funding for BBI, Berlin Airports has pledged to invest 440 million euros. "235 million euros were generated for BBI between 2005 and 2008, which represents 53 per cent of internal funding. We are four per cent above plan. In the years to come, the focus will increasingly be on gradually improving the profitability of operations", said Schwarz at the press briefing on the annual results.
A key requirement for finalising long-term funding for BBI is the approval by the European Commission of a 100% loan guarantee by FBS shareholders. In mid March 2009, the Federal Government officially submitted a notification brief to the European Commission, following preliminary talks with the Commission since the beginning of the year. "If the Commission reaches a positive result, we will immediately enter into concrete negotiations with the banks. We aim to finalise long-term funding in the second half of the year", said Schwarz.
Progress being made on the BBI construction site
Referring to the progress being made on the construction site, Manfred Körtgen, BBI/Technical Director says: "Construction work is progressing at full throttle. Around 2,000 construction workers are currently working on the construction site and this figure is expected to increase to 3,000 in the course of the year. The modern terminal is now giving BBI its distinctive face." The structural work on the terminal will be completed this year before construction work begins on the building shell, i.e. steel construction work and work on the facade. Structural work will also begin on the south pier. The extension of the underground railway station by Deutsche Bahn is due to begin this year. Completion of the structural work on the railway tunnel for the eastern rail link is also expected to start this year. Construction work will also focus on the 4,000-metre-long south runway. Concrete work for this will begin in spring 2009, as well as for aircraft operation areas, such as aprons and taxiways. "The construction work is on schedule and within budget. Our objective to have BBI up and running on 30 October 2011 remains", said Körtgen.