Fraport Hopes for the Best but Prepares for the Worst

By Kevin Rozario

Fraport has a powerful position in the airport business with an international reach that spans 31 gateways on multiple continents. A year ago, management was looking at strategies to cope with the strong growth at Frankfurt (FRA), the group’s most prized asset. Today, with the onslaught of COVID19, that picture has been turned on its head.

At the company’s Annual General Meeting at the end of May – held virtually for the first time ever – Chairman of the Executive Board Dr. Stefan Schulte was blunt about the dire situation facing the aviation business – but he was also optimistic.

“Today, planes are parked on Frankfurt’s northwest runway and the terminals are empty. No one could have imagined such images even three months ago,” he told shareholders then. “The current situation makes even the massive slump after the financial crisis seem comparatively harmless.” From July 8, that runway was back in business as traffic has begun to increase slowly.

FRA’s biggest tenant Lufthansa cut its long-haul capacity by 50% from mid-March. But so swiftly did the pandemic sweep through Europe that by the end of March, the airline’s flights were reduced to just 10%, and it is operating the bare minimum level of flight connections at the airport.

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