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Zurich airport in the red due to Covid-19

Zurich airport is under strict hygiene restrictions, as elsewhere Flughafen Zürich AG

Switzerland’s largest international airport posted a loss in 2020, hit hard by an historic slump in traffic due to the pandemic.

This content was published on March 12, 2021 - 11:59
Keystone-SDA/Zurich airport/SWI swissinfo.ch/ilj

Flughafen Zürich AG, which operates Zurich airport, said in a statementExternal link on Friday that consolidated loss for the 2020 financial year amounted to CHF69.1 million (almost $75 million). Revenue fell from around CHF1.2 billion to CHF624 million (-48.4%) in 2020.

“The coronavirus pandemic represents a major challenge for the entire aviation industry as well as for Flughafen Zürich AG and is impacting all areas of business,” the statement said

In 2020 Zurich airport saw a little over 8.3 million passengers. This was a year-on-year drop of 73.5%, according to the statement. Flight movements fell by almost 60%. The decrease in traffic was "historic" the airport company said.

Standstill

Airport traffic came to an almost standstill in the spring when Switzerland went into a lockdown during the first wave of the virus. Photos showed lines of grounded airplanes. But the airport remained open and was able to operate repatriation and rescue flights.

Stephan Widrig, CEO of Flughafen Zürich AG, said that the company had waived its dividend payment for 2020. In addition, there would be “comprehensive cost-cutting measures” and adjustments to investment planning. The company has also raised additional capital on the bond market. 

On the upside, the flagship commercial Circle project of retail stores opened in November, and has an occupancy rate of 85%.

Outlook, vaccinations

The outlook for 2021 is still surrounded by a “great deal of uncertainty,” the statement said, and will depend on when current travel restrictions are eased. CEO Widrig called for vaccinations to be taken into account.

“Anyone who provides proof of vaccination or a negative Covid test should be able to travel without restrictions and also be exempt from quarantine rules. We will continue to place great importance on hygiene and protective measures in the future to ensure that air travel from Zurich Airport is safe. But we urgently need conditions that allow travel to be planned again,” he said.

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