Passenger Growth and Cargo Record
In 2021, Cologne Bonn Airport grew in the two transport segments of passenger traffic and air cargo. The number of passengers grew by 38 per cent in comparison to 2020 to 4.25 million, but reached only a good third of the pre-crisis level. Developments in air cargo were all the more pleasing: 986,000 tonnes represents an increase in tonnage of 14 per cent and, at the same time, a new annual record for Cologne Bonn Airport.
“In the second half of 2021 in particular, we recorded a marked increase in passenger numbers. The number of passengers almost trebled in comparison to the same period in the previous year. Cargo has once again developed disproportionately and ended with a record value. Cologne Bonn Airport's outstanding importance as NRW's most important logistics hub for supplying the population with medical goods, industrial parts, food and commodities for daily use was especially highlighted during the crisis,” explains Airport Managing Director Torsten Schrank.
Traffic Figures 2021
After a difficult first half-year, in which passenger traffic failed to recover due to the coronavirus, the number of travellers rose sharply in the middle of 2021. In the period from July to December, 3.6 million people used Cologne Bonn Airport - an increase of 177 per cent compared to the second half of 2020. "Tourist traffic in particular ensured rising demand and a significant recovery in passenger traffic in the second half of the year," says Schrank.
The threshold of a million tonnes was only just missed in the cargo segment. In total in 2021, around 986,000 tonnes of products and goods were handled at Cologne Bonn - 14 per cent more than in 2020 and more than ever before. December closed with a record value of just under 94,000 tonnes. “Cargo is a stabiliser in the crisis and an important pillar of our business model,” Schrank continues.
Better Economic Result Expected
A glance at the provisional economic figures is extremely positive. The Airport expects that it will end the year much better than forecast. The loss after tax will probably more than halve in comparison to the first year of the coronavirus, 2020 (-31.1 million euros). “With increases in revenue and strict cost discipline, we have been able to largely compensate for revenue falls in passenger traffic. Our successful business model with passenger traffic and air cargo proved to be exactly right in the crisis,” says Torsten Schrank. A positive operating result was always earned during the entire coronavirus crisis.
The Airport is expecting another improvement in profits for the current year. A balanced operating result after tax will probably be earned again as early as 2022, sooner than expected at the start of the crisis. “Our current plans assume further economic recovery. We expect that the company will achieve a small positive result in 2022 and return to profitability,” says Schrank.
Outlook 2022: More passengers and 1 million tonnes of cargo
Positive development of traffic to contribute to this. The Airport is expecting passenger volumes to roughly double in the current year. “Even though the start to the new year is weaker due to the current infection situation, we are optimistic that the upwards trend in passenger traffic will continue this year,” Schrank expounds. In the summer timetable, a total of 26 airlines are offering 118 destinations in 36 countries. In addition to the general airline portfolio with carriers such as Lufthansa, Eurowings, Turkish Airlines, Ryanair and Wizz Air and tourist airlines such as Corendon and SunExpress, Cologne Bonn has recently attracted two new airline partners, easyJet and Air Serbia. And a continuing positive development is predicted for air cargo, too: the threshold of 1 million tonnes of air cargo in a single year will be passed for the first time in 2022.