Frankfurt Airport Traffic Growth Slows to 1.9% on Economy

Fraport AG’s Frankfurt Airport passenger traffic growth slowed in 2012 as recessions in Europe and aviation-industry strikes reduced flight numbers.

The number of passengers using Frankfurt Airport, Europe’s third-busiest, rose 1.9 percent to a record 57.5 million travelers, the company said today in a statement. That lagged behind the 6.5 percent gain posted in 2011.

The economy of the 17 nations sharing the euro went into recession in the third quarter, and gross domestic product in Germany expanded 0.7 percent last year, slower than the 3 percent gain posted in 2011. Weak demand from southern Europe, fewer flights during the winter timetable and 3,350 flight cancellations throughout the year stemming from walkouts by airline cabin crews and airport security guards and baggage handlers hampered traffic growth, Fraport said.

Even after passenger numbers missed Fraport’s forecasts, “the full-year guidance for earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization is not at risk,” Jochen Rothenbacher, a Frankfurt-based analyst at Equinet Bank AG, said today in a report to clients. He reiterated an accumulate recommendation and a share-price estimate of 52 euros.

Fraport fell as much as 1.8 percent and was down 0.7 percent at 42.80 euros at 10:49 a.m. in Frankfurt, the lowest since Dec. 4, based on closing prices.

Earnings Forecast

The airport operator predicted in November that Ebitda in 2012 would rise at least 5 percent. The Frankfurt-based company is scheduled to report preliminary full-year profit figures on March 12.

Takeoffs and landings at Frankfurt Airport declined 1 percent in 2012, pushed down by a drop of 10 percent in December, as airlines scaled back on cargo services and used larger passenger planes, including Airbus SAS’s A380, Fraport said today. Freight volume fell 6.9 percent to 2 million metric tons.

Including airports and terminals that the company owns in Antalya, Turkey; Burgas and Varna, Bulgaria; and Lima, Peru, Fraport’s group traffic rose 2.9 percent to 99.4 million travelers in 2012. Takeoffs and landings increased 0.4 percent to 819,415 movements. Air-freight volume declined 5.8 percent to 2.36 million tons.

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