Sunday, 19 July 2020

Passenger numbers down at VINCI airports

● Passenger numbers down 61.4% in H1 2020 due to the global travel restrictions imposed to limit the spread of Covid-19● Introduction of hygiene measures across the entire VINCI Airports network● Gradual return of commercial flights in June in the large majority of the network


The travel restrictions imposed by many countries (including population lockdowns, border closures and quarantines) caused operations across the VINCI Airports network to grind to a near standstill in the second quarter of 2020. Passenger numbers fell nearly 98% in April and May compared with the same period the previous year. The recent easing followed by the gradual lifting of restrictions has enabled passenger traffic to slowly resume, although it still remains low (down 94.1% in June 2020 versus June 2019).

Overall, with a total of 2.4 million passengers handled at the 45 airports in the VINCI Airports network 1 , passenger numbers in Q2 2020 contracted 96.4% compared with Q2 2019. Despite the collapse in commercial traffic, airports continued to operate flights throughout the period to meet the air travel needs of public services, such as repatriating people from abroad, transferring patients, healthcare professionals and medical equipment, and transporting freight.



In collaboration with local authorities, VINCI Airports has put in place protective hygiene measures in all of its airports in order to facilitate the resumption of commercial traffic. These measures include in particular reducing passenger density through every stage of the passenger journey by managing flows accordingly, using floor markings to ensure social distancing in queues, requiring passengers to wear face coverings, providing hand sanitiser and ramping up cleaning, disinfection and ventilation of indoor spaces throughout the airport.

· The airports in Portugal saw passenger numbers in Q2 2020 shrink 97.5% year on year, primarily due to the travel restrictions imposed by other countries. Since borders in the Schengen area reopened on 15 June, traffic was able to resume gradually, for example on the routes connecting Lisbon and Porto to Lyon Saint-Exupéry airport.

· In the United Kingdom, passenger numbers at London Gatwick and Belfast International was close to zero in Q2 2020 (down 99.6% and 99.2%, respectively, year on year). As of 15 June, a limited number of flights have been operating, primarily between the two airports. The announcement made by the government on 3 July lifting the quarantine imposed on people entering the UK from around 50 countries should lead to a more substantial recovery of passenger traffic.

On 15 July 2020, Standard & Poor’s completed a review of Gatwick Funding Limited's Class A debt following which it maintained its investment grade rating of BBB but assigned it CreditWatch negative from Outlook negative2 . On 24 June 2020, Moody's affirmed Gatwick Funding Limited's rating at Baa1, but revised the Outlook from stable to negative. On 30 April 2020, Fitch Ratings affirmed Gatwick Funding Limited’s BBB+ rating, but revised the Outlook from stable to negative.

· In Japan, passenger numbers in Q2 2020 fell 93.5% year on year across the three Kansai airports. It was hit hard by the foreign travel restrictions, in particular with China, and the advice from the Japanese government to avoid all but essential domestic travel. The easing of these measures from 19 June meant domestic travel was able to resume, leading to falls in June passenger numbers at Osaka-Itami and Kobe of 75.9% and 80.6%, respectively.

· In Chile, traffic at Santiago airport remained very low throughout the 2nd quarter (down 95.1% year on year) due to the closure of the country’s borders and its concerning health situation.

· In France, passenger numbers were close to zero in April and May (down 99.9% on 2019). The end of travel restrictions meant domestic flights were able to resume on 2 June in Toulon (with Paris Charles de Gaulle), 8 June in Lyon, Nantes (Saint-Exupéry—Nantes Atlantique), and Clermont-Ferrand (with Paris Charles de Gaulle), and 15 June in Rennes (to and from Lyon Saint-Exupéry). International flights resumed on 15 June from Lyon and Nantes, as borders with several countries reopened in the Schengen area. Nevertheless, traffic in June still remained very low (down 96.5%).

· In Cambodia, foreign travel restrictions due to the pandemic were behind the near complete eradication of traffic during the quarter (down 97.7% year on year). There was no change to the situation in June.

· In the United States, domestic flights resumed in June, which accounts for the relatively moderate drop in passenger numbers at Orlando-Sanford airport (down 78.8% in Q2 and down just 60.2% in June).

· In Brazil, Salvador airport saw passenger traffic sink 91.4% in Q2 2020, sustained somewhat essentially by domestic flights. The announcement by the airline GOL that it would implement a base in Salvador with optimised connections is expected to support the recovery of passenger numbers forecast for Q3 2020.

· In Serbia, passenger traffic at Belgrade airport for the quarter fell 94.6% in Q2 2020. The recent announcement by the airline Wizz Air that it would base a third plane at Belgrade flying a dozen new routes, including to and from Lisbon, confirms the appeal of the Serbian capital and is expected to support the recovery that began in late May (down 88.5% in June, compared with June 2019).

· In the Dominican Republic, the border closures in place until July heavily impacted traffic, which was close to zero in Q2 (down 98.2%). The resumption of commercial flights on 1 July marked the start of a gradual return to operations.

1 Data at 100% estimated to 16 July 2020. 2019 figures including airport passenger numbers over the full period.
2 Refer to the London Stock Exchange press release of 15 July 2020,











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