Airports Company SA (Acsa), the state-owned company that owns and manages airports such as OR Tambo International Airport, felt the full might of the coronavirus pandemic as restrictions meant to control the spread of the virus dented air travel.

On Wednesday, Acsa reported a R1.47bn loss in the first half of its financial year, from a profit of R125m, as revenue plummeted to just R685m, from R3.5bn.

The loss came as the number of departing passengers in 2020 fell 65.8% to 7.4-million, from 21.6-million, the company said in a statement. Domestic departing passengers decreased 61.9% while international departing passengers fell 74.6%.

CEO Mpumi Mpofu said the company was improving, though there was still a great deal of uncertainty around the industry.

“We are in a much better place than we were in mid-2020. While there is still a great deal of uncertainty about a recovery in air travel, we have successfully implemented most of the commitments we made in response to the impact of Covid-19 and are on track with further measures,” said Mpofu.

At the core of these commitments is a reduction in annual operating expenditure of R1.2bn and the deferment of infrastructure projects worth about R14.5bn. Capital expenditure up to 2024 is capped at R1bn a year for the maintenance and refurbishment that is required to keep airports operating safely and efficiently.

Mpofu also added that the company’s estimate of three-year funding support that may be required had fallen from mid-2020 estimates of up to R4bn to about R600m in the 2023/2024 financial year.

The funding position has been bolstered by the sale of the company’s 10% interest in Mumbai International Airport for a net R1.27bn, while an offer is being considered for Acsa’s interest in Guarulhos International Airport in São Paulo, Brazil. The company has commenced a process for the potential monetisation of some of its R7.7bn investment property portfolio.


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