COVID-19 Sends Sydney Airport Into the Red

COVID-19 Sends Sydney Airport Into the Red
The Qantas check in area is seen empty at Sydney International Airport on March 19, 2020 in Sydney, Australia. Qantas has announced it will ground its entire international fleet, including overseas Jetstar . ( Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

Sydney Airport will cut costs and debt and warned jobs could be lost after the COVID-19 pandemic hit its bottom line, forcing it into the red.

Australia’s most active airport on Aug. 11 reported a net loss of $53.6 million for the first half of this calendar year—a dramatic turnaround from a profit of $17.3 million for the same time last year.

First-half revenue was $511 million, down 35.9 percent as cash flow from aeronautical fees, retail and parking fees declined.

While the year started well, passenger volumes slumped by 56.6 percent to 9.4 million people as COVID-19-related restrictions on travel began to be implemented from February.

International passenger numbers are down 57.3 percent and domestic traffic down 56.1 percent.

“Six months into the pandemic, there remains uncertainty as to how long it will take for aviation markets to return to pre-COVID-19 levels,” chief executive Geoff Culbert said in a statement.

Sydney Airport said its operations would continue to be affected while domestic and international travel restrictions remained in place.

It’s still aiming for a 35 percent reduction in operating costs by April next year and again warned of potential job losses.

“The staff job guarantee will regretfully not be extended beyond 30 September 2020 and a review is currently underway to restructure the organisation,” it said.

Under the guarantee, Sydney Airport earlier this year promised to retain the jobs of its 500 employees for six months.

Sydney Airport on Tuesday also announced a $2 billion equity raising and will use the proceeds to cut its debt bill to $7 billion.

“At this time, no distribution is expected to be declared for 2020,” it said.