Those responsible for London’s Heathrow airport, the busiest in Europe before the crisis, this morning charged the British government for dropping the airline sector. “It is standing out globally for not supporting your aviation sector“criticizes the CEO, John Holland-Kaye, according to Reuters in the framework of the presentation of the results of the first quarter. Heathrow loses £ 352m after tax, compared to a £ 102m gain in the first quarter of 2019. Cash generation falls 12% to £ 375m.
The infrastructure of HAH, from which Ferrovial is a reference shareholder with 25% of the capital, accumulates a 18% drop in passenger traffic between January and March, still scarcely touched during that period by the Covid-19 crisis. Already in April, as the company anticipates this morning, the collapse is 97% for the main gateway in the UK.
HAH draws a horizon of uncertainty about the return of a certain normality in operations, in view of the fact that the decision to lift restrictions on flights is up to governments around the planet. Until the conditions exist for the recovery of certain levels of air operation with passengers, Heathrow has £ 3.2bn of liquidity (3,660 million euros). A figure that, according to its managers, covers the costs of the next 12 months even without passenger traffic.
Airport revenues have fallen 12.7% in the quarter to 593 million pounds, while EBITDA stands at 315 million pounds, with a sharp decrease of 22.4%. The operating loss in the quarter has been £ 140m.
Management stressed this morning that measures have been taken to shield the cash, cutting costs by 30%. HAH has lowered wages and renegotiated contracts with its suppliers, among other measures involving a £ 650m reduction in capital spending.
The company says it is working with agents around the world to establish a Common International Standard for air travel. “Restoring long-haul flights is critical to the UK supply chain, exports, inbound tourism and education,” argues HAH.
Two other major references in the sector, such as British Airways and Virgin Atlantic, They have also referred in recent days to the lack of support from the Executive of Boris Johnson. The IAG airline has announced the dismissal of 12,000 workers, 28% of its workforce, and is considering stopping flying from Gatwick, the second London-area airport. Virgin, for its part, claims to depend on a state lifeguard as a guarantee of survival.
A third British giant, Easyjet, has managed to obtain credit from banks and has open the sale of aircraft, as well as the possible resignation of fleet leasing, in order to maintain liquidity.