The restrictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic have complicated the operating conditions of the aviation industry since March. The pandemic has had a significant impact on Finavia’s business.
The sharp decline in air traffic quietened Finavia’s airports as governments introduced travel restrictions and airlines cancelled a large proportion of their flights. According to Airports Council International (ACI), global passenger volumes declined by -68% in January–September compared to the previous year.
In January–September 2020, the overall decline in passenger volumes at Finavia’s airports was -70%. The number of passengers was 5.8 (19.6) million. At Helsinki Airport, the number of passengers during the review period totalled 4.6 million, which represents a year-on-year decrease of -72%. International transfer travel, which is important for Finavia, declined by -75% year-on-year in January–September.
The number of passengers at Finavia’s regional network airports decreased by -59.4%. The number of passengers at airports in Lapland, which play a central role in the Finnish travel sector, decreased by -57.5% in January–September and amounted to 0.6 million.
Revenues for January–September 2020 decreased by -56.4% and amounted to EUR 125.8 (288.1) million. The operating margin before extraordinary items declined by -109.1% to EUR -10.1 (110.6) million. The operating profit before extraordinary items was EUR -84.9 (44.4) million.
In March, Finavia started an extensive adaptation programme to reduce costs and strengthen its financial position. Savings in investments, service and material purchasing and personnel expenses were achieved through the programme.
Costs were also reduced through a contraction of airport opening hours and by temporarily closing terminal facilities and runways, for example. Finavia also had to temporarily lay off all of its personnel either part-time or full-time.
“We decided to continue the investment programmes at Helsinki Airport and the airports in Lapland as they are already close to completion. Continuing the programmes also avoids additional costs that would arise from their suspension. The airport expansion projects address the needs of the coming decades and they will be necessary in the future,” says Finavia CEO Kimmo Mäki.
To prevent the spread of the virus, Finavia has implemented enhanced cleaning and hygiene processes since the early stages of the pandemic and introduced changes in passenger processes. Finavia worked closely with the health authorities and other authorities and assisted passengers to ensure safe and smooth travel. In August, Finavia launched a project at Helsinki Airport aimed at preventing the spread of diseases by enhancing the cleaning of security trays by using ultraviolet light (UVC) technology.