Salzburg Airport Terminal 1 outside. Photo: Wikicommons

LONDON – After 2019 was dominated by the closure and general renovation of its runway, Salzburg Airport (SZG) was looking forward to a successful year at the beginning of 2020.

After lockdowns and travel restrictions around the globe forced airlines to ground their fleets almost completely, SZG had to switch to stand-by operation in April.

At the beginning of May, they welcomed the first Eurowings (EW) aircraft back to Salzburg. For the first time in the history of the airport, a part of the apron was used for cinematic presentations and concerts.

The start of the summer season went well. Wizz Air (W6), a new airline partner, started services to Salzburg.

Salzburg Airport at sunrise. Photo: wikicommons

Passengers and Cargo traffic

The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic reflected in the figures for the 2020 business year. There were severe declines of about 60% in all segments.

From April to December, passenger numbers even fell by more than 90%. The airport was thrown back to the 1980s as far as passenger figures are concerned. At that time, the airport had between 600,000 and 700,000 passengers.

There were some smaller successes in the cargo and general aviation sectors, which developed well despite the crisis. SZG already initiated countermeasures to reduce costs throughout the company.

Investments, which were not absolutely necessary, were postponed. The originally planned investment volume for 2020 of around €6.8 m was thus reduced by over €4 m.

Salzburg Airport Terminal 1. Photo: wikicommons
Passengers669,790   (-61.01%)
Flight movements6,670       (-59.88%)
GAC aircraft movements36,419     (-11.65%)
MTOW (maximum take-off weight)228,093   (-54.45%)
PAX scheduled traffic499,402   (-62.58%)
PAX touristic traffic170,388   (-55.57%)
Cargo8,166 kg   (-10.76%)
Salzburg Airport Terminal 2. Photo: wikicommons

Outlook for 2021

The airport’s airline partners are preparing to return to SZG as soon as possible. EW’ Austrian base will remain and Lufthansa (LH) plans to resume service to Frankfurt and to increase frequencies.

Turkish Airlines (TK) and some British and Scandinavian partners have announced to come back. SZG is especially pleased to announce some new, attractive destinations for the summer flight program now.

Salzburg Airport Terminal 2. Photo: wikicommons

Statement from Salzburg Airport

Bettina Ganghofer, Managing Director, said, “When the first news of the outbreak of an epidemic reached us, we were prepared to follow stricter regulations, such as laying out disinfectant mats, as we have done before with SARS or the bird flu.”

“Nobody expected the actual effects of this pandemic, which almost brought air traffic to a standstill. In summary, SZG has never been confronted with such disastrous external circumstances in its post-World-War-II-history as in 2020. The effects will continue to be felt well beyond 2021. The hopes of the entire aviation industry now lie in approved vaccines and uniform framework conditions for healthy travel.”

Christian Stöckl, the Chairman of the Supervisory Board, said, “SZG was massively affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, not only directly, but indirectly as well. Although it was very important to save Austrian Airlines (OS), especially for Vienna Airport (VIE), this unfortunately had no positive effects for SZG.”

“In addition, there is still a great injustice in the fixed cost allowance, since it does not apply to companies like SZG, which are publicly owned by 100%. VIE or Klagenfurt (KLU), by contrast, receive this grant, which leads to a distortion of competition. I will therefore address the responsible minister once again on this matter.”

Featured image: Salzburg Airport Terminal 1 outside. Photo: Wikicommons