Report on activity and sustainable development 2020

Responding today to protect tomorrow

Chapter 4. Control

Responding today to protect tomorrow

The extent of the crisis has forced Groupe ADP to implement an operational and financial optimisation plan, sometimes involving very serious measures, such as terminal closures and part-time working.

€2.137 billion 

-€1.123 billion

€168 million

€4.213 billion

-€1.169 billion

€7.484 billion

The sudden, extremely rapid and massive decline in air traffic inevitably hit Groupe ADP hard, with annual traffic down by 60.4% in 2020, with
96.3 million passengers handled across all airports in the network, which now includes GMR Airports, whose contribution has helped to mitigate the decline. At Paris Aéroport, traffic at Paris-Charles de Gaulle and Paris-Orly airports totalled just 33.1 million passengers, compared with the record 108 million of 2019.

This sharp drop in traffic was reflected directly in consolidated revenue, which fell from €4.7 billion to €2.14 billion in a single year. Groupe ADP nevertheless successfully kept its EBITDA in the black at €168 million, thanks to its rapid implementation of an operational and financial optimisation plan, which included the closure of infra-structures in Paris and abroad, cost savings and a review of capital expenditure.


This optimisation plan was continually adjusted during the year in response to the changing situation with the target of reducing current operating expenses by between €650 to €700 million over the year. In the event, it secured savings of €668 million on the 2019 figure, €423 million of which related to the parent company Aéroports de Paris SA (including €84 million as a result of Paris infrastructure closures, and €118.5 million as a result of the part-time working measure introduced in response to the decline in airport activity).

One of the most urgent needs was to strengthen the financial structure and ensure its security. The capital required to stabilise the cash position at a high level was raised by two bond issues: the first raising €2.5 billion in April, and the second €1.5 billion in July. With €3.5 billion in cash and cash equivalents available at the end of 2020, the Group anticipates no issues with short-term cash flow or with medium and long-term funding.


The Group has shown great agility and control in adjusting its airport capacities to reflect the reality of traffic flows, closing and reopening all or part of its airports and terminals in France and internationally. Each terminal has been managed as a separate entity to enable the Group to close and reopen it quickly in response to circumstances and demand in agreement with airlines and air traffic control authorities. The valuable experience and skills gained over the weeks and months of the crisis have resulted in greater agility and shorter response times.

At Paris Aéroport, commercial flights were suspended at Paris-Orly between
1 April and 26 June, and half of all Paris-Charles de Gaulle terminal space remains closed. By concentrating residual traffic in a limited number of the most efficient terminals, the Group has reduced its structural costs and lowered not only its own operating costs, but also those of its airline customers. They have also benefited from support measures, including exemption from parking charges for aircraft grounded as a result of the crisis. Excluding its Paris airport buildings, the Group has also closed nearly 70% of its commercial properties, the majority of which are office buildings at Orly and Roissy.

As part of adapting its workforce to the situation created by the crisis, the Group also introduced part-time working: the average rate of part-time working for employees of the parent company Aéroports de Paris SA was 50% between March and December 2020. A collective bargaining agreement signed unanimously by employee representatives at the end of December provides for 1,150 voluntary redundancies in 2021, 700 of which will not be replaced.


Marked by a lasting change in traffic, the new realities of the air transport industry have resulted in a detailed reassessment of the financial trajectories and capital expenditure policy roadmap (see also page 34). The Covid-19 crisis has made it impossible to achieve the financial targets set out in the Connect 2020 strategic plan. Having terminated the five-year Economic Regulation Contract (CRE) with the French State and halted the process of preparing for the next CRE (for the period 2021-2025), Groupe ADP has moved from the unprecedentedly uncertain position it has occupied since its market flotation in 2006, and regained the opportunity of submitting its tariffs for approval and scheduling its capital expenditure on an annual basis for as long as forward visibility of industry prospects remains insufficient. As a result of the savings plan, the capital expenditure envelope for 2020 was reduced to €689 million (€463 million of which inside the so-called regulated perimeter): it will remain in the range €500 to €600 million per year for 2021 and 2022.

Groupe ADP plans to continue the process of transformational change now underway for its organisational structure, procedures and working methods. The action plan for its commercial activities (shops, bars and restaurants in terminals) has been developed in collaboration with all the subsidiary companies, joint ventures, operators and brands operating on airport premises. It provides for short-term support over the period 2020-2022 to optimise costs, contain debt and prepare for the reopening of retail units as terminals reopen to reflect rising traffic volumes. More structural initiatives are also in place to improve retail productivity by structuring this part of the business as a series of commercial subsidiaries in a One Group model. It is partly thanks to this “fine tuning” work that the key indicator for the Paris airport shops – revenue per passenger in airside retail – was maintained at €19.1 in 2020, just 3% down on the previous year. As a result, the company must adapt its financial management and capital expenditure policy to a forward visibility horizon that currently depends on how the pandemic develops, the success of vaccination campaigns and the rate at which countries reopen their borders, all of which are required before any sustained and substantial recovery of worldwide air traffic can take place.

1. Groupe ADP has accounted for the results of GMR Airports by applying the equity method at a rate of 24.99% for the period from March to June 2020, and 49% from July 2020 onwards (for more information about the acquisition of an equity stake in GMR Airports, please refer to the press releases of 20 and 26 February 2020 and 7 July 2020).

2. The method used to calculate net financial debt changed between 2019 and 2020. The method applied for 2020 is as follows: “gross debt less fair value asset hedges, cash and cash equivalents and restricted cash,” whereas the method applied for 2019 was as follows: “gross debt less receivables and payables from associates accounted for using the equity method, fair value asset hedges, cash and cash equivalents and restricted cash.” For the purpose of comparison, net financial debt at
31 December 2019 (as shown on page 5 of the 10 February 2020 annual results press release for 2019) was €5,254 million.