Strategy and execution
Maximise financial performance
The outbreak and spread of the pandemic severely impacted the aviation sector from 2020, deeply weakening its ability to contribute to wealth and well-being. The Bologna airport system is no exception. Due to the pandemic and the consequent slowdown in airport activity, jobs and the GDP generated by the local area dropped sharply in 2020 and 2021 compared to 2019. 2022 saw a rapid recovery in traffic, defined by recovering demand supported by travellers’ strong propensity to travel. However, the current year has been marked by a context of uncertainty, global tensions, and rising commodity prices.
2022 reports a consolidated profit of Euro 31.1 million, compared to a loss of Euro 6.7 million in 2021. The strongly positive result for the financial year under review is due, in addition to a significant recovery in traffic, to the inclusion of a contribution of Euro 21.1 million from the Compensation Fund for damages suffered as a result of COVID-19 in the period from March 1 to June 30, 2020, as specified in Law No. 178 of December 30, 2020. (2021 Budget Law). Gross Operating Margin (EBITDA) in 2022 was positive at 54.8 million Euro, compared to 3.5 million Euro in 2021. Net of the COVID contribution and other factors related to airport infrastructure improvements undertaken during the period, adjusted EBITDA amounted to Euro 32.9 million, indicating the strong increase in core operations as a result of the post-emergency recovery.
Performing and sustainable corporation
Bologna Airport strongly believes in using the values of Sustainability to facilitate the progress of the Airport System. Following on the Sustainability Plan activities started in 2021, the Group continued to pay special attention to all major sustainability topics in 2022, pursuing more than 60 projects.
AdB's Sustainability Plan is structured around three pillars: PLANET, PEOPLE, and PROSPERITY, which relate to environmental, social and economic sustainability topics respectively. The Group has defined action areas and strategic objectives for each pillar. Added to this is the “Corrente” car sharing service: a fleet of 100% electric free-flowing cars present in the Bologna area, but also in Imola, Ferrara and Rimini. The service was also used for business purposes, further contributing to the decarbonisation of airport operations.
In addition to the Sustainability Plan there is the Innovation Plan, which includes several initiatives assigned to different cross-functional working groups such as: Big Data & BI, Communication, Customer Service, Cyber Security, Technological infrastructure, Internal Systems, Development of airport/territory relationship with local community and Operating technologies.
Between 2009 and 2019 passenger traffic grew at a consistently higher rate at Bologna Airport than in Italy as a whole. Starting in 2021 and continuing through 2022, AdB collaborated extensively with carriers to expedite a recovery that can now be easily read in the 2022 statistics. After a January impacted by the Omicron variant, starting in February, thanks to the reduction of restrictions on the entry of passengers from EU countries into Italy, traffic volumes showed a gradual increase. Beginning in June, traffic surpassed pre-pandemic levels and recorded highs in passengers in July and August. However, in the last months of the year, corresponding to the start of the winter season, there was a new slowdown compared to the pre-pandemic values.
In 2022, the airport recorded a total of 8,496,000 passengers, with a strong increase from 2021 (+107.0%), with 70,871 movements (+66.8%) and 55,195 tons of cargo transported (+10.1%). However, compared to 2019 - the last pre-Covid year - passenger traffic in 2022 was 9.7% lower and movements 8.1% lower. Compared to 2019, cargo traffic was 13% higher in 2022. The two-speed evolution of domestic traffic compared to international traffic is confirmed, penalized by the continuation of partial restrictions on the movement of people between some countries (especially in the first part of the year). The average load factor is up from 68.7% in 2021 to 79.2% in 2022.
The “People Mover“, the unique, rapid mass transit system, came into full service in 2022, making it possible to reach the centre and station of Bologna in only a few minutes (5 km in about 7.5 minutes) from the “Guglielmo Marconi” Airport.
The infrastructure facility available to Aeroporto di Bologna handles approximately 9.5 million passengers per year and is managed using a variety of planning tools, including the bus station utilisation plan, the extraordinary maintenance plan for the short term, and the master plan for the medium and long term.
With regard to 2022, development on a new aircraft apron, a new water laminating basin, and an upgraded cargo terminal continued. Medium/long-term initiatives are expected to have the greatest impact and will include phase 1 of the terminal expansion project, which is one of the most important phases of the Masterplan and is aimed at increasing outgoing passenger capacity.
Total non-aviation business revenues increased 99% on 2021 and decreased 9.1% on 2019. Non aeronautical revenues increase vs 2021 is mainly related to the boost registered in traffic recovery. Compared to 2019 the business showed a good grip due to a good performance of all businesses, in particular real estate, with higher revenues than 2019 thanks to a new sub-concession agreement, and car rentals, that have already achieved pre-Covid levels. In addition, good performances of retail and parking helped in enhancing 2022 results, mainly driven by traffic recovery and implementation of new commercial strategies.
As part of its development strategies, the Group works every day with unwavering commitment to provide passengers with a unique travelling experience that prioritises customers through efficient innovative services, and a comfortable, functional infrastructure.
The pandemic emergency progressively reduced its effects in 2022, and from a quality standpoint, the anti-infection measures introduced in the preceding two years were gradually reduced. Nonetheless, the buffer point remained active at all times. Aeroporto di Bologna has extended its ACI Airport Health Accreditation (the European Airport Association’s acknowledgement of health and safety for passengers and airport users) until 2022, demonstrating the relevance of the topic in passenger perception. During the year, the MIRT (Inter-functional Traffic Resumption Meeting) Committee met biweekly throughout the summer in partnership with agencies, handlers and carriers to manage the essential challenges of the present in a coordinated manner.
Overall, 2022 was an unexpectedly intense year of recovery. In reality, strong traffic and passenger flow necessitated immediate action to restore 2019 service levels beginning in June. Like all European airports, Aeroporto di Bologna was affected by this rapid, albeit welcome, change of course and had to be provided with additional staff such as security officers and facilitators as soon as possible. The same can be said for other industry participants such as handlers and suppliers (e.g. cleaners). It required time to get the entire machine up and running, which caused a lot of disturbances, at least in the early stages, which were eventually overcome during the summer.
Environmental protection and the pursuit of decarbonisation targets are of special importance as part of the sustainable development strategy followed through the introduction of a dedicated Sustainability Plan. Environmental impact management, in particular, takes the shape of specific actions and programmes to minimise noise, safeguard natural resources (air, water), and biodiversity, and reduce direct and indirect CO2 emissions. With regard to the latter, during 2022 AdB made a formal commitment to attain Net Zero carbon by 2030 (i.e. zero absolute direct and indirect CO2 emissions). This specific commitment has so far earned accreditation to Level 3+ “Neutrality” of the international Airport Carbon Accreditation programme.
In addition, as of April 2022, 100 thousand bees have been “hired” at Aeroporto di Bologna to assist in the constant monitoring of air quality in a 7 km radius surrounding the airport. The initiative, promoted by AdB, involves the Department of Agrifood Sciences and Technologies of the University of Bologna, Ergo Consulting (a spin-off company of Alma Mater Studiorum) and Conapi (National Consortium of Beekeepers).
Several initiatives were launched in the interests of AdB’s employees (which contributed to the wining of “1st Place -Top Job – Italy’s Best Employers 2022/2023” according to La Repubblica - Affari & Finanza statistics), such as: the Post-Emergency Remote Working Agreement starting from August 1, 2022, the Gender Equality Certification promoted by the Ministry of Equal Opportunity (UNI PDR: 125/2022), talent retention and youth skill development programmes sponsored via the use of inter-professional funds and addition of several initiatives to the Welfare Plan (including the stipulation of a health care policy to cover COVID-related hospitalisations).