Genève Aéroport is facing a major crisis linked to the Covid-19 pandemic. As a result, significant cost-saving measures have been initiated for 2020 and 2021. At this stage, these measures make it possible to renounce collective redundancies and the social plan that would be implemented.
Air traffic has registered a very sharp drop since March 2020. The months of July and the beginning of August saw an upturn in traffic, but it fell back in mid-August. In September, the number of passengers is 75% lower than the number of passengers in September 2019. Management estimates that the number of passengers in 2020 will be at least 60% lower than 2019, on average. Given this recent development, Genève Aéroport will sustain a loss of at least 100 million CHF in 2020.
To deal with this situation, several urgent measures have already been taken by the general management for 2020. They were gradually announced to Genève Aéroport’s employees. The most recent decisions were announced to staff today.
From mid-March, partial unemployment was introduced. Recruitment has been frozen and replacements following natural departures strictly limited. Fixed-term contracts were not renewed and early retirements were encouraged. In total, the 2021 budget will therefore have 56 fewer posts. These are non-renewed fixed-term contracts (23,25 FTE), early retirement (6,95 FTE) and natural departures not replaced (25,80 FTE). Several other cost-saving measures have been taken: reduction of temporary staff and training costs, reduction or elimination of bonuses and freezing of annuities, in particular. All these measures result in a 10% reduction in the wage bill for 2021, or 14 million CHF. These measures were presented to the social partners and discussed with them in detail. Joint meetings have taken place every two weeks since April.
Reduction of operating expenses and investments
On the operating budget side, significant reductions in spending have been made: reduction in security subcontracting spending, elimination of business travel expenses abroad until the end of December 2020, 34% reduction in the fees and services budget, including for the study expenses of major infrastructure projects. The commissioning of the new building dedicated to wide-body aircraft, the East Wing, has been postponed to 15 December 2021 for technical reasons, as the necessary tests for a certain number of equipment could not be carried out on time due to the pandemic. The reduction in expenditure therefore amounts to 30 million CHF, or 20% of the 2020 operating budget.
In total, the savings introduced represent an amount of 44 million CHF for the 2020 and 2021 budgets.
In addition, nearly 110 projects planned in the master plan have been frozen, which represents a reduction of investments of 71 million CHF for the years 2020 to 2024 and of 199 million CHF for the years 2022 to 2024.
Furthermore, a new bond loan of 300 million CHF was successfully issued on 28 April 2020, in order to increase liquidity and secure the resumption of activities.
All of these measures make it possible to achieve the current savings target without having to consider collective redundancies coupled with a compulsory social plan at this stage. This approach also aims to maintain Genève Aéroport's capacity to manage the recovery, as soon as it occurs.
The general management of Genève Aéroport therefore decided initially to continue to give priority to natural departures and to resort to partial unemployment. Genève Aéroport has also decided to renounce considering collective redundancies, the opening of a consultation procedure and the negotiation of a social plan within the meaning of Art. 335d et seq. CO today. If subsequently, such an approach should nevertheless prove unavoidable, the process would be conducted in consultation with the employee representative organisations and in compliance with the applicable regulations. The Board of Directors endorsed these decisions. As a reminder, Genève Aéroport does not benefit from any state subsidy and it bears the entrepreneurial risk alone, in its capacity as an independent institution, which must assume its costs alone.
If traffic trends were less favourable than expected, additional savings would arise. This would necessarily have an impact on Genève Aéroport's workforce. The economic and health situation as well as traffic forecasts will be closely monitored at regular intervals to enable decisions to be continuously re-evaluated. The situation will be reviewed at the end of 2020. Everything will be done to ensure the sustainability of Genève Aéroport and protect long-term employment.
Madeleine von Holzen
+41 22 717 70 13