Profits at airport operator daa increased by 47% to €61 million last year, as commercial revenue from its domestic and international businesses grew by 30% and overall passenger numbers at Dublin and Cork Airports increased by 14%.
Turnover at daa increased by 21% to €680 million, driven by record passenger numbers at Dublin Airport and strong growth in commercial and retail revenues both in Ireland and at the group’s overseas businesses. Earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation, and amortisation (EBITDA) increased by 14% to €206 million.
“DAA had a strong year in 2015 with record passenger numbers at Dublin Airport, Cork Airport returning to traffic growth in the fourth quarter of the year, and an excellent performance by our airport retail business ARI,” said Chief Executive Kevin Toland.
Total passenger numbers at Dublin and Cork Airports increased by 14% to a record 27.1 million last year. Dublin Airport had a stellar year, as passenger numbers increased by 15% to 25 million. Passenger numbers at Cork Airport declined by 3% to 2.1 million last year, but the final quarter saw a return to passenger growth at Cork, as the impact of new routes boosted traffic.
Dublin Airport set new passenger records in all major sectors of its business last year. An extra 3.3 million passengers were welcomed with 23 new routes and more capacity on 40 existing services. “Dublin Airport is a key driver for Irish trade and tourism and the benefits of this additional traffic would have been felt throughout the economy,” added Kevin.
Passenger numbers at Dublin and Cork Airports have increased strongly in the first four months of this year. Dublin Airport passenger numbers were up 15% to almost 7.8 million in the four months to the end of April, while Cork Airport passenger numbers increased by 8% to 592,000 during the same period. Dublin Airport will have 13 new routes this summer, while Cork Airport, the State’s second largest airport, will have eight new routes this summer.
Record passenger numbers and increasing demand at Dublin Airport mean that the airport’s existing runway infrastructure is now at capacity at peak times and daa recently announced that it was progressing plans for a €320 million new runway.
“The new runway will be an essential enabler for the Irish economy for many decades to come as it will support up to 31,000 new jobs and €2.2 billion worth of economic activity,” said Kevin. “It will allow our existing airline customers to grow and will also help Dublin Airport to attract new airlines to the Irish market.”
The daa’s turnover from aeronautical revenue increased by 8% to €257 million last year, while turnover from commercial and retail activities in Ireland and overseas increased by 30% to €423 million.
Operating costs increased by 18% during the year to €333 million. However, this rise was due in part to set-up costs associated with the opening of a new business in New Zealand and to the full-year impact of an acquisition in Cyprus.
Costs at Dublin and Cork Airports increased by 8% as daa hired additional staff to cope with record passenger numbers at Dublin Airport. “On a per passenger basis, daa reduced its airport costs by 5% last year and delivering further efficiencies remains a key priority,” said Kevin Toland.
The daa’s retail arm ARI, which operates in 10 countries overseas and also manages The Loop at Dublin and Cork Airports, had an excellent year. “We increased our retail sales in Ireland strongly ahead of passenger growth and the overseas business of ARI also had a very good performance.”
Total sales at Dublin and Cork Airports, including retail, food and beverage sales by concessionaires, increased by 20% to €273 million last year. An €8 million upgrade to the main retail area at Dublin Airport’s Terminal 1 and growing passenger numbers helped deliver a 28% increase in sales at ARI’s directly managed stores in Ireland, as annual sales in these stores surpassed €100 million for the first time. Average passenger spends at Irish stores operated directly by ARI increased by 12% last year.
The profit generated by ARI’s overseas retail operations and investments increased by 19% to €22 million during the year. Most ARI locations saw double-digital increases in sales in 2015 and total managed turnover for ARI was up by 19%. Passenger numbers at Düsseldorf Airport, in which ARI owns a 20% stake, increased by 3% to 22.5 million.
Last year ARI won significant new contracts to operate duty free outlets at Auckland and Abu Dhabi Airports and earlier this year it retained its concession at Muscat International Airport in Oman. “The award-winning retail experience that ARI has delivered in Dublin Airport’s Terminal 1 helped it win and retain key contracts abroad as it proved yet again that ARI is a world beater,” said Kevin.
The daa has also recently won a major multi-million euro contract to operate a new domestic terminal at Riyadh’s King Khalid International Airport in Saudi Arabia though its daa International arm. The new terminal, which has a capacity of up to 12 million passengers per annum, will open on a phased basis during this year.