VIA earnings and passenger numbers down year on year in 2009

Vienna International Airport’s (VIA) turnover and earnings dropped in 2009 in a year overshadowed by the revelation that the cost of construction of a new terminal may double.The Austrian Audit Office (RH) is examining VIA’s books after the press reported that the cost of building the new “Skylink” terminal could reach 830 million Euros instead of the originally cited 400 million Euros.Work resumed recently after it was halted last June when the news broke. VIA chiefs pledged they would be able to lower its cost while sticking to the initial time frame for completing the project in the first half of 2012.RH will present the results of its investigation later this year.VIA board spokesman Herbert Kaufmann said today (Weds) turnover had dropped by 8.5 per cent to 501.7 million Euros in 2009 compared to the previous year, while the company’s earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (Ebitda) had shrunk by 17.6 per cent to 166.5 million Euros.Kaufmann said: “Vienna International Airport was unable to distance itself from challenges the whole aviation industry was confronted with in 2009.”He claimed developments of the past few months had proved that VIA had started to leave the bottom of the valley.The number of passengers using VIA also dropped last year.Kaufmann said 18.1 million people had traveled via the airport – which is located near the Lower Austrian town of Schwechat just outside Vienna – in 2009, an 8.3 per cent year on year decline. He added that a three-per-cent increase was expected for this year.The media have claimed Kaufmann might be axed over decreasing turnover and passenger numbers and the “Skylink” scandal. But the VIA board made clear earlier this week that there were no plans to replace him.