Thanks to a marked recovery in the second half of the year and significant cost reduction measures, Genève Aéroport recorded a loss of 88.9 million CHF in 2021, significantly lower than that of 2020 (129.5 million CHF). The number of passengers is 5.8% higher than in 2020 while total landings and take-offs are up 14.9% compared to the previous year.
In 2021, Genève Aéroport's revenues reached 209 million CHF, up 9.3% compared to 2020. Aeronautical revenues increased by 14.1% compared to 2020 to 107.6 million CHF. This increase is mainly linked to the increase in traffic (movements and passengers) as well as the increase in aeronautical fees of +4.45 CHF/passenger, which was introduced in July 2021, following the negotiations which took place during summer 2020 with the airlines. Non-aeronautical revenue (shops, car parks, rents, etc.) increased by 4.7% to 101.5 million CHF, despite the low level of passengers, the partial openings of shops and restaurants and periods of telework, compulsory or recommended. The increase in revenue from car parks (+22.9% compared to 2020) is, for its part, well above the evolution of overall traffic.
Revised downwards several times during the year, operating expenses in 2021 amount to 227 million CHF. These cost reductions are the result of cyclical and structural cost-saving measures. Strict and agile financial monitoring, throughout the year, made it possible to significantly reduce the level of the loss for the 2021 financial year. Personnel costs reached 125.5 million CHF, down 13.9% compared to 2020. Faced with a major budgetary crisis, Genève Aéroport had to reduce its workforce (hiring freeze, non-renewal of positions, early retirement, etc.) from 1,041 full-time equivalents (FTE) at the end of 2020 to 997.9 FTE as of 31 December 2021. In view of the evolution of the crisis, Genève Aéroport was again forced to adapt its structure and announce in October 2021 - with effect from 1 January 2022 - the elimination of 22 posts.
Many projects have also had to be stopped or postponed, without compromising the current and future operability of the platform. Therefore, the continuation of the work on the East Wing, the replacement of the baggage handling system (BLC) and the development of the thermal network, in collaboration with the SIG (GeniLac), have been preserved. In 2021, investments amount to 111 million CHF, i.e. 24 million CHF less than in 2020.
Air transport heavily affected
In 2021, Genève Aéroport welcomed 5,923,035 passengers, i.e. 67% less than in 2019 (17,926,625 passengers), due to the pandemic which has strongly affected air transport. On the other hand, the number of passengers was slightly higher than in 2020 (+5.8%), and the total number of landings and take-offs increased by 14.9%, reaching 99,249 movements compared to 186,043 in 2019 (-46.7%). In the business aviation sector, aircraft movements increased by 2.8% in 2021 compared to the pre-crisis (2019).
The past year has confirmed the recovery in air freight, which began in the second quarter of 2020. The annual air freight and mail tonnage handled at Genève Aéroport amounted to 59,462 tonnes, an increase of 12.9% compared to 2020, but a reduction of 30% compared to 2019. Freight transported in the hold of passenger airliners recorded the most marked change (+19.1%).
Resilience of the network of connections
The strength of the network of intra-European connections was the main factor in the rebound in activity recorded from mid-June to the end of August 2021. The service, which had 147 destinations in 2020, decreased slightly to reach 137 destinations in 2021. As for the number of airlines operating to and from Genève Aéroport, it stood at 48 in 2021 (compared to 54 in 2020 and 57 in 2019). From July 2021, Genève Aéroport was able to count on the return of long-haul flights, with Air Canada in particular - in addition to Ethiopian Airlines, Emirates and Etihad which had already resumed their service previously. Intercontinental flights have responded to passenger demand, in particular expatriates wishing to return home, as well as a significant freight activity for the region, both in the import and export of goods.
The role of the airport remains above all to connect Geneva to the major economic and political centres in the world, whether in the Gulf, the African continent and North America, in particular to meet the needs of International Geneva. During the year, Genève Aéroport was able to restore its entire service to North America (SWISS to New York – JFK, United to New York – Newark and Washington and Air Canada to Montreal), even if the frequencies remained lower than before the pandemic.
Restoration of the intercontinental network required continuous efforts and coincided with the entry into service of the East Wing on 14 December 2021, the same day as the inaugural reopening flight from Geneva to New York, operated by SWISS.
easyJet remains the leader in Geneva with a market share of 48.6%, followed by SWISS with 12% of the market. Third place is occupied by the Spanish company Iberia with 3.9% and then Air France (3.8%), KLM Royal Dutch Airlines (3.1%), Turkish Airlines (2.7%), British Airways (2.6%), TAP Portugal (2.3%), Emirates (2.1%) and Brussels Airlines (1.9%). Among the most visited cities are Porto, London and Lisbon, followed by Paris, Madrid, Amsterdam and Istanbul.
Limiting emissions on the tarmac
During the crisis, airlines, encouraged by a policy of incentive airport charges, have opted for latest-generation aircraft, which are more economical in operating costs. Contributing to limiting noise emissions, class 5 aircraft are less noisy and consume less kerosene (Bombardier CSeries, A 320neo, A 350 and Boeing 787). They account for 22.3% of airliner and charter movements, compared to 18.7% in 2019. The top two classes (5 and 4 respectively) represent 92.1% of all aircraft movements in 2021.
In May 2021, Genève Aéroport formalised a sustainable development policy. It is committed to providing users with efficient and sustainable infrastructure and services, to preserving the living environment and to strengthening its links with the region. As a committed employer, Genève Aéroport makes every effort to ensure that its purchases and partnerships are duly responsible. On the tarmac side, two electric buses assigned to passenger transport were received in 2021; two new buses will be delivered in 2022. Eventually, the fleet will consist of 30 buses, fourteen of which will be electric. This strategy aims to limit vehicle emissions within the platform.
Minimising the climate footprint
Genève Aéroport also participated in the drafting of a joint declaration of intent by Swiss aviation stakeholders (SWISS, easyJet, Zurich and Basel airports, Swiss Business Aviation Association) in favour of a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, net zero emissions by 2050. This text is part of a study entitled « Road Map Sustainable Aviation » Switzerland which aligns with the objectives of the Federal Council's climate strategy.
In June 2021, the Board of Directors of Genève Aéroport approved the study credit for the CAP 2030 and multimodal platform projects (interchange hub connected by plane-train-public transport-road-soft mobility). This is a major transformation of the airport as the operability of the main terminal, built in 1968, will have reached its limits. A multimodal platform will be built on the upper part of the CFF station between 2025 and 2028 as well as a new terminal of 45,000 m2 on the esplanade opposite the main entrance to Terminal 1.
Genève Aéroport publishes its annual report in digital format in text, images and videos as well as a reminder of the highlights of the last twelve months.
Ignace Jeannerat, spokesperson,
+41 22 717 80 57