• Solid 2019 performance builds resilience that will help the business recover from the impact of COVID-19
• Range of steps taken to protect the wellbeing of passengers and staff as well as jobs
• Improved liquidity by securing a £300m loan and Gatwick’s investment grade rating is maintained
Passenger numbers and revenue were up at Gatwick Airport for the nine-month period ending 31 December 2019, compared to the same period last year. Just under 37 million passengers passed through the airport in the nine-month period – an increase of 0.3%. The annual results cover a nine-month period as Gatwick aligns reporting cycle with that of VINCI Airports, the airport’s 50.01% shareholder.
Since the end of the reporting period however, the airport – and the wider aviation industry – has experienced unprecedented market circumstances and a dramatic decline in passenger numbers due to the impact of COVID-19.
In response, Gatwick has taken a range of steps to protect both the wellbeing of its staff and passengers and shield the business to enable it to recover quickly. Measures taken to reduce the airport’s operational footprint include the temporary consolidation of operations into the South Terminal and limiting scheduled flights to between 1400 and 2200 each day.
Both measures came into effect on 1 April 2020 and are being kept under regular review with a decision on returning to normal operations taken when airline traffic and passenger demand increases. The company is regularly engaging with Government, the airlines and other stakeholders to ensure it is in the best possible position to rebuild the operation as quickly and as safely as possible, taking into account Government public health advice.
Actions to safeguard the financial resilience of the business include reducing costs by deferring spend on the airport’s Capital Investment programme for the foreseeable future, putting over 90% of eligible staff on the UK Government’s Job Retention Scheme to preserve jobs, reducing the headcount of permanent staff through a special severance scheme and all staff taking a pay reduction.
Finally, to improve its liquidity, on 3rd April Gatwick secured a £300m loan with a consortium of banks. The company will not be paying a dividend in 2020.
Gatwick expects all those measures to enable a quick recovery of the business and currently expects post-COVID-19 passenger numbers will return to recent levels within 36 to 48 months.
Gatwick’s growth and development during the period up to December 2019 took place across several key areas including:
Passengers and traffic up – with one in five passengers flying long haul
– 36.9 million total passengers, an increase of 0.1 million (+0.3%), compared to same nine-month period the previous year
– Growth driven by long haul traffic, with passengers up (+1.5%)
– Around 1 in 5 airport passengers travel long-haul
Strong financial growth and capital investment
– EBITDA increased (+7.9%) to £432.3 million, due to continued strong revenue growth
– Income per passenger up (+6.0%) to £19.50 including retail income which increased by £7.4 million (+5.0%)
– Capital investment was £174.4m compared to £173.2 in the 9 months to 31 December 2018
Continued reduction in airport’s environmental impact
– 71% waste recycling / reuse rate and reduction in airport energy and water use
– Reduction in carbon greenhouse gas emissions under Gatwick’s direct control by 54% (halfway to net zero), and maintenance of airport’s carbon neutral accreditation
Gatwick Airport, Chief Executive Officer, Stewart Wingate said:
“The airport continued to grow in difficult market conditions during the period covered in these results. However, the world has changed dramatically since then and Gatwick has taken decisive action to ensure that it remains in a strong position to recover from the dramatic fall in passenger numbers and the wider impacts of COVID-19.
“The COVID-19 crisis has been unprecedented and our priority has been, and continues to be, maintaining the health and safety of our passengers and employees. We also have a resilient business and by taking steps to reduce costs, we have protected jobs and expect to recover from this crisis.
“One measure we took to reduce costs was to defer spending on our capital investment programme to secure improved resilience, however for future growth we still expect to progress many of these projects including our plans to bring the existing Northern (stand-by) Runway into routine use to offer more travel choice for passengers and new jobs for Gatwick and the wider region.
“Of course, any growth must be sustainable, and we also remain focussed on our ongoing efforts to reduce the airport’s impact on the environment. I’m pleased to say that we continue to make significant progress in this area, and we are committed to reducing our environmental impact even further in the years ahead.”
– ENDS –
Notes to Editors
Further information on the financial results and the associated investor presentation can be found at www.gatwickairport.com/investor
Media enquiries to
GATWICK AIRPORT PRESS OFFICE
+ 44 (0) 1293 505000
About Gatwick Airport
Gatwick is the UK’s second largest airport. It serves more than 230 destinations in 74 countries for 46 million passengers a year on short and long-haul point-to-point services. Gatwick is also a major economic driver and generates around 85,000 jobs nationally, with 24,000 of these located on the airport.
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.