2022 Overview - A successful new beginning after the pandemic
2022 Overview - A successful new beginning after the pandemic
The year 2022 was marked by a new start after the pandemic. After a weak first trimester, passenger numbers also increased strongly at EuroAirport. In total, the Airport welcomed 7 million passengers in 2022. This represents a decrease of 23% compared to 2019 and an increase of 94% compared to 2020. Summer operations at EuroAirport proceeded in an orderly fashion. In 2022, EuroAirport continued to fulfil its responsibility as a reliable and committed partner of the trinational region. The Airport is financially sound and committed to the principles of sustainable development.
The three strategic business areas
Gradual recovery for passenger traffic
In 2022, EuroAirport recorded approximately 7 million passengers, a decrease of 23% compared to 2019 and an increase of 94% in passenger traffic compared to 2020. At 2.6 million passengers, passenger traffic in 2020 had reached a historic low due to the pandemic, while 2019 had still represented a record year in terms of passenger traffic with 9.1 million passengers.
In the first trimester of 2022, the number of passengers at EuroAirport remained at a low level before increasing again. In summer, even higher frequencies than in 2019 were registered during peak periods, albeit an overall lower number of passengers. Parking occupancy was also above the average, at certain times even exceeding the 2019 peaks. Summer operations at EuroAirport proceeded in an orderly fashion. This is essentially due to the fact that EuroAirport and its partners were, for the most part, able to hire sufficient personnel.
The total amount of flight movements amounted to 84 136 (+31,7%/2021 resp. -15,3%/2019), of which 64 300 were commercial flights (+56%/2021 bzw. -21,1%/2019).
EuroAirport continued to be able to fulfil its important role as a gateway to Europe and the Mediterranean region: In 2022, a total of 25 airlines offered around 90 flight destinations.
Cargo business remains robust
Freight traffic enables Basel-Mulhouse Airport to play a strategic role in the regional logistics cluster. The cargo business can be divided into two major segments: general cargo (full cargo and trucked cargo) and express freight.
The Cargo business area remained stable in 2022, even though a slight decline of 4,2% (114 320 tons) in total freight volume was registered as expected. (Previous year: 119 300 tons, 2019: 106 075 tons). The decrease in express freight amounted to 7 percent (+4,6%/2019), while general cargo registered a decrease of 16,3% for full cargo and an increase of 4,4% for trucked cargo.
Resilience of the strategic business area Industry
Specialised in maintenance and conversion (cabin interior design) for executive aircraft, the third business area “Industry” shows a solid performance in 2022, even though some employees had to be laid off. EuroAirport’s industrial center of competence is of global significance and generates one third of all jobs located directly on the airport platform. It includes four companies: Jet Aviation, AMAC Aerospace, Air Service Basel and Nomad Technics AG. Well-filled order books enable these companies to make their required investments.
A continuous need for the binational airport’s adaptability
The year 2022, and therefore the aviation sector, was marked by the continuous lifting of Covid-19-related restrictions, the war in Ukraine and the related energy crisis, by a sharp rise in inflation, shortages in global supply chains as well personnel shortages in the aviation and tourism sectors.
Just as in the previous years, the Airport, when faced with rapidly changing realities and framework conditions, demonstrated a high level of adaptability in both operational and economic terms. The rapid increase in air passenger volume was a challenge for all partners involved on the airport platform. The partners closely coordinated procedures, operations and staff deployment depending on traffic volume, and were able to make necessary adjustments quickly. This allowed EuroAirport and its partners, for the most part, to hire sufficient personnel, and summer operations could be managed smoothly.
As an operating company, and for the first time after the start of the pandemic, the Airport was able to create new jobs again in 2022. Among originally 402 employees at the end of 2019, 57 staff members left the airport company by the end of 2021 without any employees being laid off. As of the end of 2022, the total amount of jobs located on the platform amounted to 6220, of which 367 are directly with EuroAirport as the Airport’s operating company. Therefore, the airport platform as a whole remains one of the big employers in the trinational region.
Both the Board of Directors and EuroAirport’s Executive Committee were able to be completed in 2022. As the term of office of the Swiss delegation on the Board of Directors expired in November 2022, new elections were held, which led to the following changes: Natacha THEYTAZ, Thomas KNOPF and Marcel ZUCKSCHWERDT left the Board. The following were elected as new members of the Board of Directors: Caroline STEINER, Daniel EGLOFF und Francine ZIMMERMANN. All other members were re-elected for a new term of office.
The cost-saving measures implemented in the beginning of the COVID crisis have paid off. The recovery of traffic enabled the resumption of investments that had previously been reduced to an absolute minimum.
The two main focuses of action, the reduction of aircraft noise pollution and the CO2 footprint, were further pursued in 2022.
EuroAirport is pursuing a two-track strategy: In the long term, EuroAirport intends to define and implement an upper limit for noise emissions caused by airport operations in cooperation with regulatory authorities, political decision makers and local associations. This is intended to create legal certainty for all stakeholders. The required instrument for this purpose are limiting noise curves, a procedure already used at Geneva Airport. Because there is still no legal basis for this instrument in France, it will not be possible to introduce it before 2025.
In the short term, EuroAirport intends to reduce the particularly disagreeable nocturnal noise pollution. On the one hand, the decree introduced on February 1, 2022 provides a ban on all departures scheduled between 23:00 and midnight. On the other hand, departures and landings of particularly noisy aircraft types during nighttime hours between 22:00 and 06:00 were also banned.
Interim assessment of the new measures
It is a fact that the amount of departures after 23:00 could be reduced by 68 percent in comparison to the previous years. In addition, since February 2022, no departures were scheduled after 23:00 anymore. Nevertheless, noise levels have increased between 23:00 and 23:15 as opposed to the status before the introduction of the new measures. This can essentially be explained by the fact that many of the departures that - before the introduction of the measures - used to take place after 23:00 were then planned briefly before 23:00 in 2022. This means that even more overflights over the communities located around the airport take place shortly after 23:00. From EuroAirport’s point of view, this is not acceptable. The Airport is therefore working with the French and Swiss regulatory authorities, the affected airlines and by means of additional adjustments of its own infrastructures to achieve improvements in order to reduce the increased number of overflights shortly after 23:00 again.
Another focus will be set on the first hour of the night, between 22:00 and 23:00. The objective is to ensure that the advancement of departures from the time period “23:00 to 24:00” to the time before 23:00, caused by the ban on scheduled departures, does not cause any noise level increases. This requires timely corrective action. The Airport is also working closely with the French and Swiss regulatory authorities on this project.
The percentage of landings from the south at EuroAirport as of the end of 2022
The percentage of landings from the south (ILS 33, Instrument Landing System) amounts to 11.5% for 2022 (previous year: 9.4%). This means that the 2022 figure is above the 10 percent threshold defined in the administrative agreement of February 10, 2006 about the use of runways, which is why a review is being conducted by the two responsible regulatory authorities and corrective measures are being analysed. Out of a total of 33 191 IFR landings (previous year: 22 168), 3 814 (previous year: 2 090) were carried out from the south on runway 33 (IFR: Instrument Flight Rules). Just as in the previous years, higher values were recorded in the spring and summer in particular.
The compliant implementation of the agreement is a key concern for the Airport. The latter expects concrete proposals from the regulatory authorities to comply with the agreement. The French civil aviation authority DGAC (Direction générale de l’aviation civile) and the Swiss FOCA (Federal Office of Civil Aviation) continue their close cooperation in order to elaborate potential solutions.
The Airport is acting at two levels: On the one hand, the Airport is committed to reducing its own CO2 emissions. On the other hand, the Airport intends to reduce emissions across the entire platform in cooperation with its partners.
Concerning CO2 emissions under the Airport’s direct influence and responsibility, in fall 2021, EuroAirport set itself the voluntary target of "net zero emissions" for 2030 at the latest. It intends to achieve this by means of two measures contributing to an estimated CO2 emissions reduction of up to 90%:
- The purchase of 100% renewable electricity of European origin. EuroAirport has been purchasing this “green” electricity since May 2020.
- The heating plant currently powered by natural gas will be replaced by a biomass heating plant. A first step was achieved in September 2022 when EuroAirport was connected to the district heating networks and biomass heating plant of the City of Saint-Louis. Through this connection to a district heating networks supplied by a form of renewable energy, CO2 emissions can be reduced significantly: this reduction corresponds to the emissions of 3 000 residential units, and the renewable energy percentage of the Airport’s heat supply now amounts to about 30%. As of 2025, after the commissioning of RCU-E’s new biomass heating plant on the airport site, the reduction share for heating will reach about 90%.
In terms of CO2 emissions for which all players on the airport platform are responsible - airlines, ground handling services, companies from the Cargo and Industry sectors as well as public and private passenger transportation - the Airport is leading a dedicated working group since 2021. The group’s work aims to encourage as many emission generators as possible to undertake joint efforts and targeted measures in order to reduce CO2 emissions. One component of these initiatives is a comprehensive inter-company mobility plan, consisting not only of a profound analysis, but concrete actions with a corresponding timeline. In addition to this, several measures decided and initiated by other partners exist, for instance the replacement of diesel-powered buses operated by Basler Verkehrsbetriebe (BVB) with new, electrically powered, bi-articulated buses by the end of January 2023. Furthermore, EuroAirport offers the possibility for passengers to offset their CO2 emissions via selected national or international projects directly at the Airport, and in collaboration with the myclimate association.
Last but not least, the new rail link, which will be part of a trinational inter-urban railway network, should contribute to a further CO2emissions reduction.
The global geopolitical end economic situation is still characterised by uncertainty. EuroAirport’s planning will therefore continue to be cautious. In 2023, 7.4 million passengers are expected, which corresponds to approximately 80% of the traffic in 2019. Concerning the two other strategic business areas, Cargo and Industry, the Airport is expecting a stable economic development.
The reduction of nocturnal noise pollution remains a key concern in 2023 as well. The Airport is working together with the other partners in order to achieve improvements concerning the implementation of the new measures introduced on February 1, 2022 on the one hand, and concepts aiming to avoid any further increase of nighttime noise pollution caused by aircraft in the time period between 22:00 and 23:00 on the other hand.
“CO2 emissions” will be another key topic for EuroAirport this year. The new European directives will be a particular challenge for all stakeholders within the aviation sector. The program “Fit for 55” in particular, promoted by the European Union, will require the implementation of comprehensive and costly measures from the Airport. The program, which is to be adopted in the course of the year, aims to reduce CO2 emissions by at least 55% until 2030. The purpose of this package of measures is to also include the aviation sector into the international community’s ambitious goals in terms of CO2 reduction efforts. The Airport will fully support these efforts.
Finally, the Board of Directors will complete the update of its strategy, which had started last year. The last version of the strategy, which was adopted in June 2019 before the pandemic, will therefore be adapted to the new challenges and set the airport's goals for the next five years.
For more information about EuroAirport, go to www.euroairport.com
Manuela WITZIGHead of External CommunicationsTel. +41 (0)61 325 35 45On-call service (weekends): +33 (0)6 32 63 37 87E-Mail: email@example.com
Flughafen Basel-Mulhouse | Postfach | CH-4030 Basel Aéroport Bâle-Mulhouse | BP 60120 | F-68304 Saint-Louis Cedex