The airport’s revenue last year dropped by nearly 70% after COVID-19 forced shut airports worldwide, however, the company is hoping for a better second half of 2021.

CEO Alan Borg said on Wednesday that the total revenue generated dropped by nearly €70 million to €32 million. A “dramatic drop” was recorded in earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortisation (EBITDA) – from €63.2 million in 2019 to €5.6 million in 2020.

However, the company’s “timely” implementation of cost-cutting allowed it to limit its net loss to €4.3 million.

Capital expenditure meanwhile dropped by nearly a fifth – from €19.9 million in 2019 to €16.3 million last year, as did staff costs, thanks to government support schemes and MIA’s own employees, who helped cushion the blow, Borg added.

Throughout the year, the average number of employees dropped by less than 1% – from 379 in 2019 to 377 in 2020. Borg said that the year started off with 386 employees in January, down to 340 in December.

The airport this year has already applied a tiered salary reduction varying from 5 to 15% for board members, the management team and unionised employees. 

Borg was addressing the Malta International Airport’s 29th annual general meeting.

In 2020, a year characterised by a pandemic that brought a decade of passenger traffic growth to a halt, visitor movements dropped by 76.1%, totalling just over 1.7 million. 

With operations being so quiet, the MIA took the opportunity to replace older lighting units on its runway and apron to be able to run a more sustainable operation. 

A €20 million multi-storey carpark was completed by November, while phase one of a planned cargo village that will create 1,270 square meters of warehousing space was also completed last year.

How will 2021 fare?

In the first four months of this year, the airport has seen as many passengers as it would have seen in just one week in 2019.

April saw a drop of 94% in passenger movements when compared to the same month of the previous year.

Despite the “fluid situation”, Borg said MIA expected a better second half of 2021 as consumer confidence is gradually restored.

“There is light at the end of the tunnel,” he reassured, adding that Malta’s vaccination rollout “puts us in pole position to start the recovery process”.

MIA, he added, will remain vigilant of developments within the industry and “will continue exercising a cautious approach to cash management”.

Twenty airlines are planning on operating 90 routes from and to Malta this summer, with the main operators remaining Air Malta and Ryanair. 

For the second year, MIA will be proposing a zero dividend on its shares.

However, Borg noted that the airport’s stock price has done fairly well and MIA is still the largest valued company on the Malta stock exchange.

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