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Copenhagen Airport Revenue Rises By 15% With Strong Passenger Demand

Copenhagen Airport reported a pre-tax profit of DKK 398 million ($56.9 million) for 2023, signaling recovery from the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Passenger numbers reached 26.8 million, a 21% rise from the previous year, although still 12% below pre-pandemic levels. Revenue grew by 15% to DKK 4.1 billion compared to 2022, which was still 7% lower than in 2019. Moreover, the airport is addressing the debt accrued during the pandemic.

A Continuing Increase In Desire To Travel

“We are experiencing a continuing increase in the desire to travel. Passengers returned in higher numbers in 2023, and the terminals are busy. On the busiest days of the year, more than 100,000 passengers passed through the airport to travel to or from one of the 321 direct routes that exist between Copenhagen and 164 destinations around the world. Despite the progress, we are still not at the level of 2019. 12% of our passengers are still missing – and we feel that,” says CEO Christian Poulsen.  

The aviation sector faces ongoing difficulties due to the conflict between Ukraine and Russia, particularly as European airlines cannot use Russian airspace. This has impeded the airport’s ability to introduce new routes to Asia and attract passengers, as flights must reroute around Russian territory.

Copenhagen Airport Reports “Satisfactory Result,” Despite Challenging Circumstances 

“We are ending the year with a relatively satisfactory result. But at the same time, we are in a situation where we carry a large debt that we need to reduce. The crisis has resulted in a debt level that puts pressure on our finances. Additionally, it has become significantly more expensive to operate the airport. We are experiencing a general rise in prices, increased expenses for salaries, and a number of new legal requirements we need to meet,” says Christian Poulsen.  

Copenhagen Airport‘s aeronautical revenue reached DKK 2.2 billion in 2023. This marks an 18% rise from 2022 but a 9% drop from pre-pandemic numbers in 2019. Non-aeronautical revenue, including income from the shopping center, rentals, parking, and hotels, came in at DKK 1.9 billion. This is a 12% increase over the previous year, yet 3% lower than in 2019. These earnings are key for the airport’s investment capabilities.

“It is a challenge that we need to invest while also reducing debt. We have several necessary and costly investments in order to ensure that we continue to be an attractive airport for passengers, airlines, and for Denmark in the future. It is crucial for our country to have a well-functioning international airport with good connections to the world,” says Christian Poulsen. 

Framework Conditions in Place 

In 2023, Copenhagen Airport established significant framework conditions, including a new commercial charges agreement with airlines for the use of runways, terminals, and services settled in August.

“We negotiated a good, joint agreement with the largest airlines in the airport. Now, both the airlines and us have ensured predictability in our businesses in the coming years. The fees are the foundation of our economy and our ability to invest in the future of the airport, the green transition, and maintaining our position as an international traffic hub,” says Christian Poulsen. 

In December, the Danish parliament passed a law permitting Copenhagen Airport to develop its existing space to accommodate modern aircraft by building suitable stands.

“The new legislative framework gives us the opportunity to maintain our position as an important traffic hub in Northern Europe. It is important that we continue to deliver efficient operations and remain attractive to both airlines and passengers – otherwise, Denmark will lose ground to the countries surrounding us,” says Christian Poulsen. 

Developing for the Future

Copenhagen Airport is renovating and expanding Terminal 3, its largest investment recently. The expansion of the terminal area is expected to be completed in 2028.  

“We must continue to ensure that we remain an efficient airport and that we are attractive to airlines and passengers. That is why we are creating more space. We are expanding the baggage reclaim to double its size, building a larger passport control and expanding the terminal area for passengers with lounges, new dining options and shops. It is important that we maintain our position as a Northern European traffic hub with direct flight connections. This is crucial for the region’s economic development and for promoting trade and tourism in Denmark,” says Christian Poulsen. 

Copenhagen Airport Expectations for 2024 

Copenhagen Airport anticipates 20% revenue growth in 2024, attributed to new charges from January 1st and passenger numbers reaching almost 29 million. However, financial projections remain uncertain due to geopolitical and economic instability, which could potentially affect traveler confidence and CPH’s financials.

Should passenger traffic hit the forecasted volume, pre-tax profits will range from DKK 1.15 to 1.35 billion. The increase in passengers is expected to positively influence earnings. However, the airport expects higher operating costs during 2024 from passenger services, legal obligations, salary hikes, and inflation. These could negatively impact the financial outcomes.

Copenhagen Airport Annual Report 2023

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