Amsterdam Airport interims eroded by security costs

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Amsterdam Airport operator Schiphol Group is warning that its competitive position is being eroded by high passenger taxes, security costs and kerosene prices, which are threatening to flatten its traffic for the remainder of 2008 and during 2009.

Over the first six months of 2008 Schiphol Group's net result on a like-for-like basis fell by 8.3%. Taking account of one-off property gains booked in 2007, the net figure was 32.9% down at €95.8 million ($142.5 million). The firm's operating result fell 23.5% to €137.2 million and its EBITDA declined 16.3% to €221.9 million.

Passenger numbers at Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Eindhoven Airport rose by 2.1% to 24.1 million, but the airport operator's revenue from airport charges fell by 2.6%. Its total half-year revenue, however, stood 1.7% up at €549.5 million.

At the same time, the cost of government-imposed security measures at Amsterdam rose by 4.5% to €105.5 million.

Schiphol Group president and CEO Gerlach Cerfontaine warns that there will be "little or no increase" in passenger numbers for 2008, partly because of an air passenger tax which was introduced on 1 July.

He says: "This tax measure - in combination with the increasing security costs - threatens to adversely affect the competitive position of Schiphol.

"Moreover, we believe it is highly likely that, as a consequence of the high kerosene prices and the worldwide deterioration of the economic climate, passenger volume in 2009 will, again, show no growth."