Letter from the CEO
Let us briefly review 2022. Air traffic in the first quarter of 2022 was still clearly influenced by the Omicron coronavirus variant, which was dominant at the time. Nevertheless, at Easter we were already feeling the return of a strong desire to travel, which continued in the summer. The considerable demand for tourist air travel is clearly reflected in the high passenger numbers at our airports in Greece. We even welcomed more passengers there last year than in 2019, before the outbreak of the pandemic. Our airport in Antalya also carried almost as many passengers as in pre-crisis times in the peak season in the third quarter. In Frankfurt, we had to take measures together with our partners to keep handling at the airport as stable as possible due to the rapidly increasing demand in the summer and existing capacity bottlenecks in complex hub structures. Unfortunately, we have nevertheless seen numerous flight cancellations and high levels of delays at times. Looking toward further growth, we are working continuously and very closely with all system partners to again clearly improve handling, including punctuality, and waiting times. At this point, I would like to thank all those, especially our employees, who have kept our airport running thanks to their tireless dedication. It is thanks to these people that we were able to register around 49 million passengers at Frankfurt Airport last year, despite all the challenges. This puts us above our forecast at the beginning of the year and the upper end of our updated 2022 outlook. A great result and a remarkable joint accomplishment.
The high traffic volume had a positive effect on the financial figures and led to a 49.0 percent increase in revenue to €3.2 billion compared to the same period in the previous year. At the same time, operating expenses were clearly higher compared to the previous year, which was also attributable to the strong traffic development and high volumes concentrated in individual daily peaks. That said, we generated a Group EBITDA of €1,029.8 million. Of this, more than 50 percent was generated by our foreign investments, led by Greece. The Group result was 81.5 percent above the previous year’s level at €166.6 million. This is a very pleasing result, also because one-off effects due to the write-off of a shareholder loan in connection with our shareholding in St. Petersburg Airport in 2022 had a very negative impact.
Let us now look at 2023. The industry is expecting significant growth despite the difficult overall economic situation. It is therefore our task to prepare your company for this ramp-up and to deliver the performance and quality that our customers in Frankfurt have been used to in the past. For this reason, all measures for qualification and further training, especially in ground handling, are continuing to run at full pace. We are also continuing to recruit in operational divisions. With this in mind, we are preparing together for a strong year 2023, and we aim to increase customer satisfaction once again. All that being said, 2023 will remain challenging in Frankfurt considering the highly networked hub structures and the labor market situation.
Since the start of the year, it has largely been down to us to ensure that our passengers are satisfied with the security checks. Fraport has been responsible for conducting, planning, and managing the aviation security checks in Frankfurt since January 1, 2023. For me, this is a very important milestone that we achieved together with the responsible Federal Ministry and the German Federal Police. Together with our service providers on site and by implementing the latest technology, we are now working on faster and smoother operations for our passengers.
The construction of Terminal 3 is continuing according to plan. Pier G has been completed except for the final installations required for operation. The construction, including the roof and facades of the main terminal building, is also almost complete. Other areas of construction, such as the new road connection and the parking garage with 8,500 parking spaces, will be finished in a timely manner. Like this, there is currently nothing standing in the way of the planned opening for the 2026 summer flight schedule.
However, it is not just in Frankfurt where we are making progress. Our international Group airports are continuing to work on their long-term competitiveness and are demonstrating great successes year by year. The past year saw the completion of the new runway in Lima, which we will be putting into operation soon. The construction of the terminal there is running at full pace, and it will be put into operation at the start of 2025 already. To be positioned for further growth, we are also building a new terminal with our partner TAV in Antalya, Türkiye, where the new concession will start in 2027. From Greece, we are expecting dividend payments for the first time this year – a very pleasing development.
You see, dear shareholders, that your company is active for you around the world far beyond Frankfurt, because international business has made a substantial contribution to the Group result for many years.
We are also making progress with the important issue of climate protection. At the end of last year, the Executive Board resolved the decarbonization master plan. The plan includes comprehensive measures for achieving our objective of being CO2-free by 2045 at the latest and we are already implementing various milestones on the way toward it. With the construction of photovoltaic systems, the gradual transition of our vehicle fleet to electric drives, and the wind farm in the North Sea, which will supply us with the majority of our power from 2026, we are already well positioned.
Let me now give you an outlook for 2023: At Frankfurt airport we started the year with passenger levels at around 80 percent of the 2019 volume. We are expecting higher demand already with the start of Easter travel, which could temporarily rise to up to 90 percent of pre-crisis levels over Whitsun and in the summer season. Overall, we assume that this year in Frankfurt we will welcome between above 80 and around 90 percent of the passenger volume from 2019. However, ultimately this depends on how strongly the overall economic development will affect the demand for air travel, among other things. At the international Group airports, we assume that total passenger numbers will recover to around pre-crisis levels. In here, we are once again expecting slightly more passengers at our Greek airports than before the coronavirus-pandemic. For Latin America we also expect a faster recovery than for Frankfurt.
The aforementioned traffic forecasts will also have a positive influence on our substantial key financial performance indicators. Accordingly, we are expecting a Group EBITDA of around €1.04 to approximately €1.20 billion. We forecast the Group result to lie in a range between around €300 million and about €420 million.
Despite this positive outlook, we will not be submitting a proposal for the appropriation of profits to the Annual General Meeting, considering the continuing major effects of the coronavirus pandemic on our Group debt.
I would like to thank you, dear shareholders, for your trust over the past year. I am convinced that we, the Executive Board, together with all the employees and system partners will set the right course so that 2023 will be a successful year.