In response to a devastating 90% drop in passenger traffic at Copenhagen Airport, due to travel restrictions imposed as a result of the global coronavirus pandemic, parts of the airport will close from 25 November.
As published in its recent interim report, CPH served just 6.7 million passengers in the first nine months of 2020; a 71.3% drop equating to 16.6 million fewer passengers year-on-year.
Non-aeronautical revenue reached DKK 733 million/$117 million in the same period, down 49.1% from DKK 1.4bn/$230m registered over the same period in 2019. Concession revenue from the shopping centre amounted to DKK 313.0 million in the first nine months of 2020, corresponding to a 54.4% decline compared to the same period of last year.
CONCESSION REVENUE IN FIRST NINE MONTHS
Due to Covid-19, a majority of the concessionaires in the restaurant and convenience segment, banks and specialty shops closed in the first quarter of 2020. A partial reopening began in the third quarter of 2020.
Travel activity did begin to pick up over the summer period, but as Covid-19 infections increased around the world again and travel restrictions were significantly tightened, the recovery in travel demand evaporated.
In an effort to mitigate the decline in passenger revenue, CPH has taken measures to cut both investments and operating costs and in late August unfortunately had to let go of more than 600 positions in response to the significantly lower level of activity.
The airport is now serving an average of 5,600 passengers a day versus 83,000 pre-Covid, forcing the operator to close roughly 40% of the terminal area and 24 gates.
EVERY PENNY ‘ABSOLUTELY CRUCIAL’
Pier A and Pier West complex with gates A2-A34 will be closed while access to the Central Security Checkpoint from Terminal 2 will be also be closed.
“We can reduce our expenses a bit on electricity, cleaning, maintenance and patrolling by closing parts of the terminals,” said COO Christian Poulsen.
“Every penny we can spare is absolutely crucial at a time, where the airport has lost nearly all revenue and we have to lend a larger double-digit amount of money every month to continue to operate.
“[By] closing parts of the terminals we can give the few passengers who are still travelling a slightly better experience by [reducing the size of the] passenger area so it doesn’t feel as empty…with a continued focus on [social distancing] and safe operation of the airport.”
Whilst CPH envisages that the closure of 40% of the airport will remain in place until 2021, it isn’t ruling out the possibility of reopening after a couple of months, should the number of passengers increase.
Last week, in consultation with the airlines, it was also decided to close down operations of all commercial passenger flights overnight from 00:00 to 06:00, to reduce the costs for airlines, the airport, the ities and not least the ground handlers.. Cargo flights are not included in the night closure and will continue to operate
“The decision to close down commercial operations at night and close down part of the terminal area, entails a reduction in CPH’s capacity to handle air traffic, but we will continue to be able to live up to our obligations as Denmark’s international airport,” added Poulsen.