Fraport is a bellwether for the airports industry generally, so it is gratifying to read a slightly optimistic tone in the Annual General Meeting report given by its Executive Board Chairman.
While the going remains tough in Europe, the tough have got going with the third terminal at Frankfurt Airport, which, although it has been scaled back a little, will at least partly open in 2026.
Financially, the Fraport balance sheet is sound, but revenues are depressed and profits remain no more than an aspiration, hopefully to be revealed at the end of 2021 if the industry does succeed in opening up again.
That will depend probably more on the non-German airport assets because operating restrictions are not as severe in most countries, and in Russia the main St Petersburg airport has already reached a point where capacity, even if it is mainly domestic, is exceeding that of 2019.
Perhaps the biggest surprise, given that environment pressures will soon return, is that Fraport is seemingly cool on when it will become ‘carbon-neutral’, opting for a date well beyond that of many of its peers.
That might augur well for the entire sector, which could be over-committing itself with environmental policies when it has yet to dig itself out of a pandemic-induced trough that has cost the USA, for example, an entire year’s worth of GDP – USD20 trillion.