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Press article fom  11.03.2005

Breakeven expected in one year

Frankfurt-Hahn/Berlin, in March 2005 – During the International Tourism Exchange in Berlin, Flughafen Frankfurt-Hahn GmbH announced its successful tourist and economic performance figures for all of 2004: with almost 2.8 million passengers, Germany’s first low-cost airport beat its own previous year’s results by 14 percent. In the freight sector, 81 percent more own volume was handled as in the previous year. The turnover grew with a plus of 31 percent. The non-aviation sector – infrastructure remunerations, rent and parking count as part of that – recorded the most substantial rate of increase with nearly 70 percent. It was possible to decrease the operational loss (EBITDA = earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) by 38 percent down to 4.7 m Euro. „As we stated last year, we continue on the best route to arrive in the profit margin latest in 2006 for EBITDA and 2008 for the overall result“, according to General Manager Andreas Helfer.

Passage and freight traffic volume development
"Once again, we glance back at a successful year. The traffic-volume rate increase continues in the two-digit range. Despite a few setbacks during the past year, passenger traffic increased by 14 percent as compared against 2003. 98 percent of the passengers flew via scheduled service with low-cost airlines. At the same time, the number of flights increased by only one percent. This is an indication of the high utilization rate and efficiency of the flights. Even in the traditionally quiet months of January and February 2005, we were able to record an increase of ten percent in passenger traffic compared to 2004“, reports Jörg Schumacher, Managing Director of Flughafen Frankfurt-Hahn GmbH.

The airport operator has set itself an ambitious goal for the coming year once again. „We are anticipating 3.8 million passengers. On 1 March, Ryanair stationed its sixth machine in Hahn – that means 400,000 passengers per year. And, with the start of the summer flight schedule, the airline Wizz Air will be starting operations. On top of that, Iceland Express will be starting their operations on 21 May. We are expecting considerable numbers of passengers here, also. That means, the Frankfurt-Hahn low-cost-airport continues its growth. This development is being accompanied by numerous construction activities that will enhance the airport’s infrastructure, such as the new airport access road, the terminal infrastructure, apron areas, parking areas and the bus terminal", Schumacher continued.

Economic development and forecast
The first German low-cost airport notched up positive numbers in its economic development also: while the turnover rose by 31 percent to nearly 30 million Euros, the losses (EBITDA) were reduced by 38 percent to 4.6 million Euros (2003: 7.6 m Euros). „The non-aviation sector with its 70 percent growth rate was especially decisive for our successful economic performance figures. The business with the airlines makes up about 38 percent of the overall turnover“, reports Andreas Helfer, also General Manager of Flughafen Frankfurt-Hahn GmbH. The returns in the non-aviation sector have more than doubled during the last three years.

These numbers substantiate that economic success does not depend solely on the number of airlines. „Just as with the airlines, only those airports will survive and become profitable in this market that have a handle on the costs and grow quickly“, continues Helfer. Other so-called low-cost airports have misunderstood the „Low-Cost“ concept: Low-Cost means „low cost“; that is to say low costs for construction and investment that can be compensated through non-aviation revenues. The terminal investment costs at Frankfurt-Hahn for example lie under five Euros per annual passenger. Whereas Frankfurt-Hahn invested only 21 million Euros for its terminal with a capacity of six million passengers per year, according to its own statements the Cologne/Bonn Airport in the Wahn heath for example spent almost 200 million Euros on its terminal 2 in 2000 for the same capacity. „With the current 60 cents per passenger earnings from concessions and rent, we can already finance our entire terminal. Cologne needs to make six times this amount to pay for its shiny marble floors and to be economically successful in low-cost business“, Helfer elaborates.

The non-aviation sector is going to be expanded this very year: both existing terminals will be connected by an infrastructure construction with circa 180 square meters of additional sales and restaurant space. More than 3,000 additional parking spaces (currently 9,736) will take shape directly in front of the terminal already this year.

The extension of the runway approved by the authorities in December 2004, elongating it from currently 3,045 meters to 3,800 meters is momentarily the most important Flughafen Frankfurt-Hahn GmbH development project. „Above all, we need the longer runway to be able to pull long distance traffic to Hahn and to keep existing customers. We reckon with final completion by the middle of 2006“, says Schumacher. The investment costs for this project amount to 30 million Euros. The fact that the Frankfurt-Hahn airport, with its 24/7 service has been long recognized as one of the most important hubs in the international freight market is also proven by the migration of world famous airlines such as British Airways World Cargo, providing their services from Frankfurt-Hahn since September 2004, and Air New Zealand Cargo joining in April 2005, the ninth scheduled-flight freight airline in Germany’s fourth largest freight airport.

The growth and investments planned for the coming years has been secured by an increase in equity capital through the entry of the State of Hesse on 1 January 2005. The stock capital has been increased from 30.5 million Euros to 50 million Euros not including capital reserves of 22 million Euros. That results in a share proportion of currently 65 percent for Fraport AG and 17.5 percent each for Hess and Rhineland-Palatinate.

„Opposed to other so-called low-cost airports, the growth rate in Frankfurt-Hahn is accompanied by improved economic results. That continues to encourage us that we can reach our forecast to become operatively profitable in 2006 and attain an overall profitable result in 2008“, concludes Andreas Helfer.

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NOTICE for media representatives during the International Tourism Exchange in Berlin: On Monday, 14-Mar-2005, at 4.30 pm, in the C&C Mediencafé in the Press centre in hall 6.3, the Managing Directors Andreas Helfer and Jörg Schumacher will be presenting the touristic and economic outcomes in detail. We look forward to your visit.

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