Feldkirchen/Graz, 11.01.2022: Even with the continuing coronavirus pandemic and the lockdowns associated with this, Graz Airport was able to increase its results in all segments compared to the previous year. Despite Omicron, last summer’s demand for travel allows us to look to the future with cautious optimism.
The start of 2021 was very difficult globally, and thus also for Graz Airport. Almost the whole of Europe was in lockdown, and it was only in May that the travel requirements were eased in Austria. This meant that in the first 5 months of 2021, we were able to look after only just over 16,000 passengers, resulting in the first half of 2021 being significantly down in comparison to 2020.
“With the end of lockdown and the start of the holiday period we gained ground appreciably,” notes Wolfgang Grimus, Managing Director of Graz Airport. “As well as Vienna, we were able to connect Graz to four further major hubs, namely Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Munich and Zurich, as well as the financial centres Stuttgart and Düsseldorf, and to offer a broad charter programme.”
This favourable trend was once again slowed somewhat by the further lockdown in late autumn 2021, but nonetheless with 226,562 passengers our figures were up by +13.6%.
“Even though the airport’s figures from last year showed a better result than in 2020, overall 2021 was a mixed year,” said Wolfgang Malik, Chairman of the Board of Holding Graz.
Malik continued: “We were unable to influence the pandemic, but today we are already preparing our take-off for the future in liaison with the airport management. This includes our plan to realise a business park further to the south with partners and in consultation with the municipalities. We still own 310 hectares of land there, surrounded by reputable companies such as Saubermacher.”
In addition, Malik also wants to push ahead further with the “green airport“ approach: “We want to be CO2-neutral. This ranges from purely electric mobility throughout the area to the deployment of electrically powered small aircraft. And we also want to develop our own energy production by means of solar installations."
Development in detail:
Regular and charter services:
The travel restrictions in the winter and spring naturally had a greater impact in terms of regular flights, which is why the passenger volume was 7.2% (-13,322 passengers) lower than 2020. However, this drop was more than offset by a 272% increase (+40,374 passengers) in the charter area.
Flight movements in terms of regular flights were down by -8% (-279 movements), but the increase of 178.2% (+948 movements) in the charter area shows that substantially more flights were undertaken in 2021 than in 2020 and that they were also better utilised.
The cargo business developed very pleasingly, with a total volume of 19,250 tons and an increase of 18.5% or around 3,000 tons. Important medical products such as FFP2 masks and rapid tests were transported to Graz on a total of 32 cargo flights, mostly by Boeing 747.
General aviation also developed strongly due to the coronavirus. A number of companies and also private travellers increasingly resorted to this form of transport in order to attend appointments, which led to a 28.8% increase in movements.
The non-aviation area
At the start of last year the VIP lounge underwent a relaunch to make the passenger experience at Graz Airport even more attractive, and this was received very positively by the passengers.
Our partners Lagardère and Heinemann reopened large parts of the gastronomy area and the duty free shop as quickly as possible after the end of the lockdown in order to continue to offer passengers a comprehensive service.
“The conference centre was also used increasingly again in the summer and autumn. In 2021 we were able to look after around 100 events, although naturally on a rather small scale due to the COVID regulations”, says Jürgen Löschnig, Managing Director of Graz Airport. “The SPAR supermarket was available continuously in 2021 not only for our guests, but also for the residents of the surrounding area.”
Optimism about the coming summer flight schedule
“Thanks to the increasing vaccination coverage rates and the responsible way in which air travellers are dealing with the coronavirus pandemic, we can expect a continuous increase in the amount of travel, especially from the second quarter. For regular services, we are working with our airline partners on consolidating the frequency and selectively using larger aircraft to the existing destinations of Vienna, Frankfurt, Munich, Zurich, Amsterdam, Düsseldorf and Stuttgart,” said Wolfgang Grimus.
Tour operators and airlines have put together a wide selection for the coming summer. The schedule includes around 15 destinations, from A for Antalya to Z for Zakynthos. There will also be numerous short links and special flights available, such as to Naples, Paphos and Ankara.
The figures compared:
|Change in %
|Total revenue - passengers
|Regular services - passengers
|Charter traffic - passengers
|Total revenue - flight movements
|Total cargo (in tons)
|General aviation (incl. military) - flight movements