Berlin airport eyes pile of debt months after long-touted opening

General

After a difficult, protracted birth, Berlin’s new airport is now having an exceptionally tough first year in business, with debt mounting quickly as passengers avoid or are barred from air travel due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The company that operates the airport, Flughafengesellschaft Berlin-Brandenburg (FBB), is sitting on about 4.5 billion euros (5.4 billion dollars) of debt and isn’t sure how to pay it. Luetke Daldrup, who is stepping down as the airport’s boss, said on Friday that normally the airport would have the financial means to pay what it owes in terms of interest, fees and bond payments. But things haven’t been normal this year. The airport only officially opened in October, shortly before a second coronavirus wave pummelled Germany. “We assume we’ll have about 10 million passengers this year,” he said. “That’s not even 30 per cent of what we would normally expect in a year.” For comparison, the two Berlin airports the functions of which have now been fused into the new Willy Brandt Airport serviced 36 million passengers in 2019, a record. Current projections say the airport will miss out on 80 million passengers it would have normally expected to see through 2025, which will mean lost income of about 1.6 billion euros, said Daldrup. FBB will try to compensate with a cost-cutting programme, he said.

 

Source: Civil Aviation Authority – Qatar