Incheon Airport forecasts its first annual loss in 17 years in 2020

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Incheon Airport forecasts its first annual loss in 17 years in 2020

Incheon International Airport is projected to suffer its first loss in 17 years due to plummeting travel as a result of the coronavirus outbreak, Incheon International Airport Corporation announced on Thursday.

The airport corporation, which went into the emergency management mode last month, projected a net loss of 16.3 billion won ($14.55 million) in 2020, compared with 882.3 billion won the previous year. It projects this year’s sales will total 1.59 trillion won, down 42 percent on year, after taking into account government support.

The airport hasn’t reported a net loss since 2003.

Reduced travel as a result of the pandemic is the main reason for the loss, according to the airport corporation. Daily passenger totals are expected to dip 97.3 percent compared to last year - the lowest since the airport opened in 2001.

The airport projects the number of international passengers to fall 79.8 percent on-year to 14.26 million. It expects the number of international passenger flights to decline 74.6 percent on year to 92,000.

The airport went into the first stage of emergency management mode on March 26.

Currently, only two of the six departure gates at Terminal 1 are being operated. At Terminal 2, both of the departure gates are operating.

The first of the three-stage emergency plan is initiated when daily passenger levels fall to between 7,000 and 12,000. The number of passengers dipped to the 3,000 range in April, which should trigger the second phase, but the airport corporation hasn’t yet initiated that phase.

“The airport corporation has to discuss the emergency measure with the government before kicking off the second phase because the airport operation involves staff from the Ministry of Justice and Korea Customs Service,” said the airport corporation spokesperson Lee Yong-ho.

The airport corporation hasn’t yet internally discussed the issue of entering the second phase.

“Not being able to receive rent fees could be the reason for not going into the second phase of the emergency measure,” said a spokesperson for a duty-free shop operator.

The airport corporation plans to borrow an additional 1.2 trillion won this year and may issue bonds.

“The airport industry ecosystem has encountered an unprecedented crisis, with plummeting flight demand at Incheon International Airport due to the global spread of Covid-19,” airport corporation President and CEO Koo Bon-hwan said in a statement.

BY JIN MIN-JI [jin.minji@joongang.co.kr]

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