Strategy and execution
Maximise financial performance
After years of uninterrupted growth and with 2019 representing a record year for the Group’s growth in terms of traffic and economic results, following the outbreak of the pandemic at the beginning of the year, 2020 turned out to be a "hannus horribilis" not only in the history of Bologna Airport, but also for the entire industry and worldwide.
In 2020 traffic data (-73.4% compared to 2019) brought the airport back to 1997 traffic levels, resulting in a sharp decline in revenues compared to the previous year (-57.6 million €) and reporting a negative EBITDA of € -3.9 million, € 48.9 million lower than 2019 net result.
Performing and sustainable corporation
In order to contain the negative effects of the traffic drop caused by the pandemic crisis on profitability, the Group promptly put in place a cost containment plan, mainly through the renegotiation of contracts with suppliers, the closure of some operational areas to achieve savings in utilities and services costs, the elimination or postponement of non-strategic activities.
In 2020, about 2.5 million passengers have travelled through Bologna Airport, a strong decrease of 73.4% compared to 2019. The massive loss in traffic is linked to the impacts of the outbreak and the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic since early 2020, as well as to the consequent emergency restrictions to people free movement globally imposed by governments, which have deeply affected the aviation sector worldwide.
The strict restrictions on cross-borders movements, as well as the climate of uncertainty in terms of constraints and obligations introduced to free movement for the protection of health, caused a significant drop in international traffic (-77.2% compared to 2019), greater than the decrease suffered by domestic traffic (-59.0% compared to 2019). The crisis triggered by the pandemic has substantially affected all traffic components; however, the LCC segment during 2020 Summer, with the partial reopening of borders, showed a faster recovery compared to legacy carriers.
In line with passenger traffic numbers, both the number of air transport movements and the take-off weight have also consistently dropped (respectively by -60.9% and by -59.9%). The average load factor decreased from 81.5% in 2019 to 60.5% in 2020.
The negative impact on air traffic trends caused by the Covid-19 pandemic could also lead the Group, in agreement with Enac, to develop the investment plan according to new priorities and executive phases, in order to consistently meet the new traffic requirements and allow for adequate remuneration of the investments and their full financial sustainability.
Despite the difficult scenario, in 2020 the Group successfully fulfilled its commitments realizing a total of 29 million euros investments (17.4 million in 2019) in addition to 4.3 million euros for the renewal of the airport infrastructures (2 million in 2019). These investments included the structural and functional maintenance works on a section of the runway in September: to take advantage of the low traffic period the Group decided to carry out the maintenance works planned for both 2020 and 2022 together, closing the airport for 10 days rather than 5, as originally planned.
After the “Conferenza dei Servizi” on the urban planning compliance of the 2016-2030 Airport Development Plan was concluded with a favourable opinion in January 2020, great efforts were made during the whole year in continuing the procedures necessary for the final approval of the Masterplan to 2030.
However, similarly to aeronautical revenues, non-aeronautical revenues suffered a strong reduction (-65.2% compared to 2019) in all the components due to the drop in traffic, the closures of shops and the reduction in fees granted to sub-concessionaires to support them in the emergency phase.
The Group pays particular attention to the continuous improvement of the quality of the services offered to passengers, also and above all in a pandemic context.
Confirming the Group's commitment to adopt measures aimed at minimizing the risk of contagion between passengers and workers, Bologna Airport has been the first airport in Italy and among the first in the world to receive the Airport Health Accreditation from ACI World.
The Group also continues to take surveys on the quality of standard services and on ASQ program indicators, in order to monitor passenger flows and operational processes that have undergone adjustments and changes after the outbreak of COVID-19 emergency. The Group believes that an accurate monitoring, as well as continuous in-depth analyses of the propensity and expectations of passengers with respect to travel (and in particular to flight) can provide useful information for a prompt and adequate recovery when the health crisis will either be resolved or under control.
In 2020, the Group's efforts were aimed in particular at protecting the health of its employees, as well as safeguarding employment levels. During the health emergency, the Bologna Airport also supported its staff by enriching the Welfare Plan; supporting with numerous initiatives family management as well as the reconciliation of private and work life.
In terms of sustainable mobility, the Group has developed a project that provides the airport community with the option of a convenient integrated Home-Work Commuting subscription, including the use of various means and transport services. This is the first "MaaS-Mobility as a service" initiative in Italy at an airport, and was awarded the "IoMobility Award 2020", conceived and organized by Innovability to promote the culture of innovation, sustainability and mobility entrepreneurship in Italy.