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Airport performance: A rating agency perspective
This paper is a summary of the author's presentation at Airports Council International's Airport Economics and Finance conference in March 2011. The 2008–09 economic crisis resulted in some spectacular falls in traffic across European airports. Yet certain airports were able to sustain satisfactory financial performance despite exceptionally adverse economic conditions. Several conclusions can be drawn from this. First, the downturn revealed sharp differences in traffic volume across various European airports. Major hub airports and a few strong origin and destination airports demonstrated good traffic and revenue resilience during the crisis. This resilience is mainly a function of the airport's role in the aviation system: first-tier airports, ie those serving the largest and most vibrant economic areas, offering the best yield for airlines and the most convenient flights for passengers, performed better during the crisis. Secondly, many European airports have succeeded in increasing their commercial revenues thanks to enlargements and improvements to their retail and food and beverage offering. The revenue per passenger has therefore often increased against a backdrop of economic recession. Thirdly, key airports have adapted their expenditure profiles. During the recent crisis, many airports managed their expenditure profiles by rescheduling capital spending and taking action on the cost base.
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