Saturday, 27 February 2021

London Gatwick posts £465.5 million loss for 2020

Gatwick publishes 2020 annual results, with renewed optimism for international travel to return in Summer 2021 whilst maintaining its financial resilience

Despite an encouraging start to 2020 passenger numbers at Gatwick fell 78% in the year ended 31 December, 2020 due to the impact of COVID-19. The airport remained open throughout the pandemic, however all revenue streams were impacted and the collapse in passenger demand led to a £465.5m loss for the twelve-month period and negative EBITDA at -£25.1m.


Decisive and swift action was taken to protect the financial strength of the business.  A strategic reduction in capital expenditure resulted in the deferral of over £380m from the investment originally planned in 2020 and 2021. Operating costs were reduced by over £140m in 2020 through a variety of actions including restructuring and reducing staffing levels by over 40%, renegotiating contracts and consolidating all air traffic and passengers into one terminal. 


To improve liquidity, in April 2020 Gatwick secured a £300m loan with a consortium of banks and the company has drawn £250m under the Bank of England’s Covid Corporate Financing Facility. The group has been granted a waiver to address breaches in Financial Covenants at 31 December, 2020.  As of December 2020 Gatwick had available liquidity of £573m to meet its operating cashflows, planned investment levels and interest payments for 2021.


A priority continues to be protecting the health and wellbeing of employees and passengers with new staff COVID-19 testing measures being implemented alongside one of the UK’s first airport NHS testing sites in 2020 and walk-in and drive-through private testing facilities also being made available at Gatwick for staff and the public.


Gatwick Airport, Chief Executive Officer, Stewart Wingate said:  “It will come as no surprise that, like any other international airport, the negative impact of COVID-19 resulted in a financial loss for the business last year which sadly also saw us need to reduce our workforce by over 40%.   I would like to thank all our staff, including those that have left us, for all their hard work and determination throughout these difficult times.

 Despite the immediate challenges I remain optimistic that Gatwick will recover and retain its position as one of Europe’s leading international gateways and an economic driver for the UK’s south east region.  Due to our swift actions the business remains resilient and robust with our focus on ensuring we are best placed to take advantage of a return to international travel this summer.   

We are heartened by the UK Government’s COVID-19 response plan and look forward to working with the Global Travel Taskforce to develop a framework that can facilitate greater international travel as soon as possible.  This will require the UK Government working with other Governments, to ease the current crippling travel restrictions and ensure a consistent, reciprocal approach for all travellers in time for this summer.  Restoring passenger confidence and offering COVID-19 safe air travel while minimizing the need for cost prohibitive testing and disruptive quarantine measures is vital.  Before air travel recovery begins, and in order for the industry to continue to protect as many jobs as possible, we also need the UK Government to provide further support by extending the furlough scheme for a few more months and providing business rate relief, as airports in Scotland have been afforded,  for the current financial year.”

About Gatwick Airport

Gatwick is the UK’s second largest airport and flies a range of both short and long-haul point-to-point services. The airport is a vital piece of the UK’s national infrastructure and is also a major driver for both the regional and national economies.

In 2019, a new long-term partnership was formed with VINCI Airports who purchased a 50.01% stake in the airport. This partnership saw Gatwick Airport integrate into the network of VINCI Airports, the leading private airport operator in the world, which manages the development and operation of 45 airports located in Brazil, Cambodia, Chile, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, France, Japan, Portugal, Serbia, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States. Served by more than 250 airlines, VINCI Airports' network handled 255 million passengers in 2019. Through its expertise as a comprehensive integrator, VINCI Airports develops, finances, builds and operates airports, leveraging its investment capability and know-how to optimise the management and performance of airports and carry out extensions and upgrades. In 2019, its annual revenue for managed activities amounted to €4.9 billion, for a consolidated revenue of €2.6 billion.

Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP), which manages the remaining 49.99% interest in Gatwick, is an independent infrastructure investor that makes equity investments in high quality infrastructure assets in the energy, transport and water/waste sectors. GIP has US$68 billion of Assets under Management. Its 41 portfolio companies operate in over 51 countries with more than 67,000 employees and generate annual revenues of circa US$51 billion.

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