Groupe ADP does not foresee a return to normalcy before 2024

Like airlines or aircraft manufacturers, the dearest wish of airport managers is to close the chapter of the Covid-19 pandemic as quickly as possible. However, on Thursday 2 December, Augustin de Romanet, CEO of Groupe ADP, manager of the Paris airports of Roissy-Charles-de-Gaulle, Orly and Le Bourget, was still wondering: “When will the level of traffic reach that of 2019? We do not know it “.

The leader, however, would have reason to rejoice. To believe it, the forecasts established “At the beginning of the year will be verified at the end of 2021”. On average, the traffic of the two major Parisian platforms should pass “Above 35%” compared to 2019. Activity still very low, but which has been rising sharply since the summer. Proof of this is that traffic at Roissy is now around 58% of its level of two years ago, while at Orly, it peaks at 60%. According to Mr. de Romanet, it will be necessary to be patient to find the figures before the crisis.

Read the interview with Augustin de Romanet, CEO of Groupe ADP Article reserved for our subscribers “Everything will not restart as before”

It is only in 2024, according to ADP projections, that the two airports in the Paris suburbs will return to 90% of their 2019 traffic. As for the real return to better fortune, it is that is to say the 100% upgrade, the deadline is much later. The manager is still considering a wide range that starts at best in 2024, but could also extend until 2027.

The group’s debt exploded

For the time being, this schedule is not upset by the fifth epidemic wave in Europe or by the sudden appearance of the new Omicron variant. The impact of the closure of destinations in southern Africa, home of Omicron, remains limited. “Only six flights per day from Roissy-Charles-de-Gaulle, or around 6% of traffic” from the airport, notes M. de Romanet. “The engine hiccups, but it does not slow down”, he assures. On the other hand, he seems to fear « l’impact » the deterioration of the social and health situation in the Antilles.

Nonetheless, to overcome the crisis, the group had to cut back in its workforce and in its costs: 1,150 out of 6,200 employees were taken out as part of a voluntary departure plan. “ADP has also greatly reduced its investments”, reports M. de Romanet. “Only three projects have been preserved: the rehabilitation of terminal 2B and the creation of a link between terminals 2B and 2D”, he adds.

Read also Paris airports manager Groupe ADP will cut 10% of its workforce

For lack of revenue with airports almost at a standstill, ADP had to complete a loan of 4 billion euros. The group’s debt has exploded. “In 2020, forty-four years of ebitda were needed [bénéfice avant intérêts, impôts, dépréciation et amortissement] to pay off the debt “, specifies ADP. In 2022, the group would like to reduce this ratio to only “Six to seven years of ebitda “. A drastic remedy, which the CEO welcomes because “Today, ADP is slightly profitable thanks to all these savings”.

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