Luxair Group has published its annual report for 2020, which shows a 71% drop in passenger numbers for Luxair, a 70% drop in package tour sales for LuxairTours, a 6% increase in cargo handled by LuxairCARGO, and a 68% drop in passenger numbers hadled by Luxair Services.
Overall, Luxair SA posted a net loss of €154.94 million in 2020 (compared to a net profit of €8.1 million in 2019). The company recorded an operating loss of €159.8 million.
Luxair Luxembourg Airlines
2020 was dominated by the COVID-19 pandemic, causing Luxair to halt its flight operations for two months, after which the national airline was the first to resume flights from Luxembourg Airport and welcomed its first passengers on board on 29 May 2020, in compliance with the health measures in force. At the end of 2020, Luxair suffered a 71% drop in passengers, resulting in a 70% drop in revenue, leading to an operating loss of €73 million. The occupancy rate decreased by 15% to 52%.
The year got off to a flying start with the success of the Vakanz trade fair and an increase in mid-February of almost 20% in holiday package sales compared to the same period last year. However, LuxairTours was also strongly impacted by the health crisis with a decrease of almost 66%, limiting the number of passengers to 257,651. A product that grew strongly in previous years, with an increase of 11% in 2019, holiday packages experienced a more marked decline (down 70%). This sharp decline generated an operating loss of €54 million.
In February 2020, the paralysis of the Chinese economy led to a sharp decline in LuxairCARGO's operations. By March, however, the recovery of Chinese industry and the resumption of cargo flights to China, combined with the suspension of commercial flights whose cargo was redirected to freight-carrying aircraft, led to a significant increase in field operations.
During the first lockdown in March 2020, LuxairCARGO's logistics platform played a key role in supplying Luxembourg, Europe and the world with medical products. Freight traffic was higher than ever, especially for the transport of medical equipment. 947,000 tonnes of cargo were transported through Luxembourg Airport during the year and the pace accelerated considerably towards the end of the year. A 6% increase in cargo traffic was recorded compared to 2019. While the volume increased significantly, the management of operations was difficult and resulted in additional costs, particularly in terms of manpower. The operating result deteriorated from a loss of €3 million to a loss of just over €10 million.
Although the airport remained open and operational throughout the year, regular air passenger traffic in Luxembourg was interrupted from March to the end of May 2020 due to the first lockdown. This slowdown had a significant impact on the ground services activity operated by LuxairServices. However, during this period, the airport played a crucial role for cargo and especially medical flights to and from Luxembourg and the Greater Region.
Luxair catering prepared 881,641 meals in 2020, compared to 2,295,730 the previous year, a decrease of 62%, mainly due to the decrease in passenger numbers. Luxembourg Airport ended 2020 having served 1.4 million passengers, a figure not reached since 2003. The number of passengers decreased by 68% compared to 2019.
LuxairServices recorded a decrease of €15.5 million.
Outlook for 2021
The year 2021 will continue to be impacted by Covid-19 for Luxair's various activities. While the desire and need to get away from it all is present and confirmed by Luxair and LuxairTours customers, the health crisis persists and operations have not yet returned to pre-COVID-19 levels.
The effects of this crisis, the intensity and duration of which are still difficult to predict, have affected all of Luxair's activities. Luxair, LuxairTours and LuxairServices expect a gradual resumption of activities for the 2021 summer season. The volume of goods currently transiting through the Cargocenter is significant and the forecasts are encouraging for LuxairCARGO.