Fraport AG, the operator of Frankfurt airport, said it’s testing new systems such as personalized phone messages for travelers to promote services and shopping.
“We have quite a bit of data, as travelers have to present their boarding pass when purchasing duty free goods, so we do know which traveler buys what,” Chief Financial Officer Matthias Zieschang said at the company’s annual press conference in Frankfurt. “Now it’s a question of turning that data into customized services and offerings for passengers.”
Fraport is seeking new sources of income as passenger growth remains slow and international expansion plans have been held up by the company being outbid for operating licenses and stakes in airports abroad. Fraport is also trying to reach a target for per-passenger retail spending that was postponed at least twice after there were fewer Asian travelers than planned at a new pier and a strong euro depressed sales last year.
Net retail revenue per passenger, paid to Fraport by tenants of airport shops, climbed 8.4 percent to 3.60 euros last year. Fraport has said it won’t reach a target of 4 euros before 2015, after originally aiming for that number by 2012. Today, Chief Executive Officer Stefan Schulte said it may take until 2016 to reach the target, as a strong euro makes airport shopping less attractive for travelers from India, Japan, Russia and Brazil, the groups that spend most at the airport.
Fraport shares fell 0.6 percent to 57.28 euros at 2:30 pm in Frankfurt trading.
While possibilities for new services include text messages to travelers to suggest a parking space or the quickest route to their gate, such ideas aren’t yet backed by specific investment plans, Schulte said. Smartphones and other devices may also allow passengers to make restaurant reservations or book a slot at the hairdresser at the airport while still on the plane to Frankfurt, he said.
Revenue last year rose 4.9 percent to 2.56 billion euros ($3.6 billion), in line with the company’s forecast of as much as 5 percent. Earnings before interest and taxes climbed 6.5 percent to 528.1 million euros, beating Fraport’s prediction of as much as 520 million euros. Net income fell 7.2 percent to 221 million euros after the company forecast a “decline.”
Fraport predicted sales growth of about 3 percent this year, with Ebit rising as much as 14 percent. Net income will be “slightly” higher than last year as passenger numbers in Frankfurt increase 2 percent to 3 percent.
The forecasts include a change in accounting that will recognize net income from Turkey’s Antalya airport in the company’s consolidated financial result.
Ebit at retail and real-estate operations rose 6 percent last year to 267.9 million euros, or 51 percent of the total, as retail sales climbed 10 percent. The ground-handling unit posted a negative operating result of 2.3 million euros, the first loss in four years. The company has a target to generate a profit with the operations this year, board member Anke Giesen said.
Fraport was outbid for airport operating rights in Portugal, Brazil and Turkey in the past 16 months, including the rights for Turkey’s Dalaman airport, which were won by YDA-Turkuaz Group today. Fraport is also looking at various potential targets for acquisitions abroad, CEO Schulte said today.