As Norway’s two largest airlines struggle to generate profits, the airports and businesses that serve airlines are earning more money than ever before. Record numbers of passengers are spending record sums at the airports, just not on their actual flights.
“It’s a great paradox that it’s mostly only those who live off the passenger volumes the airlines deliver who manage to turn a profit,” Anne-Sissel Skånvik, communications director for Norwegian Air, told newspaper Aftenposten last week.
Her comments came after Norwegian reported a major loss while Avinor, the state-owned agency that runs Norway’s airports, reported its best results ever: NOK 1.9 billion based on income from the restaurants, cafés, parking, tax-free and other retailing operations at the airports, while they all chalked up profits individually as well. Norwegian Air, meanwhile, lost just over a billion kroner and SAS around NOK 813 million last year.
Avinor thus plans to tighten its operations and cut the fees it charges the airlines, to help strengthen the airlines that give them all their reason for existence. “The airlines are going through major structural changes,” Dag Falk-Petersen of Avinor said. “Then Avinor needs to share responsibility for strengthening aviation’s competitiveness.”
Skånvik said Norwegian expects fee relief after paying around NOK 1.8 billin to use Norwegian airports last year. SAS also is demanding relief, claiming that it’s “not sustainable … for everyone other than the airlines to earn money.”