ORANJESTAD – Before the global pandemic, Aruba Airport Authority N.V. (AAA) forecasted to finish 2020 with a total amount of 1,295,151 Revenue Generating Passengers (RGP). Today, AAA forecasts to finish 2020 with 473,315 RGPs which is 63% less than 2019 and 63% less than what was forecasted before the COVID pandemic. As a result, this translates into an expected loss of revenues of approximately AWG 100 million in 2020 and a loss of Awg. 23 million for the company that was projected to incur Awg. 28 million in profit.
Various aviation industry associations and legislative bodies such as ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization), IATA (International Air Transport Association) and ACI (Airports Council International) have adjusted their outlook and estimate that it will take the aviation industry at least 3 to 4 years to recover to pre-COVID traffic levels worldwide. Based on AAA’s network with its airline partners and also based on the insights of the aforementioned aviation industry associations AAA has also determined its outlook for the 5 coming years: AAA estimates a recovery of 37% in 2020, 52% in 2021, 68% in 2022, 78% in 2023, 84% in 2024 and 90% in 2025. This is also in line with the second wave of outbreaks and subsequent lockdowns currently starting in Europe and high numbers that are still being experienced in Aruba’s number one market, the U.S.A.
In the past few months the Minister of Tourism, Health and Sport, Danguillaume Oduber, has constantly and diligently worked with both the Supervisory Board and Management of Aruba Airport Authority N.V. (AAA) to reach consensus on a fair and socially responsible approach in the provision of packages for the employees of AAA. These packages are currently being offered as a part of the re-organization process that AAA has been working on the past months to ensure resiliency and fiscal prudence in the airport’s Covid recovery strategy. Minister Oduber has done his utmost together with AAA and the involved stakeholders to make sure that the approach and package are just, fair and socially responsible.
All stakeholders involved understand the difficult situation of AAA and an expected loss of revenues of approximately AWG 100 mio in 2020 must lead to measures and painful difficult decisions.
AAA has decided, with the support of the Minister and the Board of Supervisory Directors to:
broaden the target group of the voluntary financial package. The same package will now also be offered on a voluntary basis to employees aged 55 and older. Applications will be evaluated by management and honored if this can be seen in the best interest of the company and as long as the related costs will stay within reasonable boundaries.
decide that the deadline on accepting or declining a package will be extended until Sunday November 8th, 2020. This gives employees more time and is also appropriate in view of the broadened target group regarding the redundancy package and those that need additional time to consider the offer.
Minister Oduber has also strongly urged management of AAA that in the meantime, and in the unlikely event that AAA’s financial business situation will significantly change, to make sure that there will be room for deviation from the current decisions. This deviation, if any, will remain nonetheless at the discretion of AAA Management under the close supervision of the Supervisory Board, as AAA’s good governance rules and regulations prescribe.
“The airport is vital infrastructure for Aruba and must be restructured to be able to stand the uncertain future ahead of us. We do not want to create false hope, and we want to be realistic what the current financial situation is and what the future situation can be. I am glad that I have been able to convince AAA’s management to enrich their approach on crucial elements in the interest of the employees”, said Minister Oduber.
All stakeholders have agreed to stimulate the involved employees to accept the voluntary offered package. Accepting the voluntary package will be even more important because AAA has indicated to monitor the situation closely but sees no other option than to start the dissolution of the work relationship in court in January 2021, when the business situation remains unchanged.
“Besides the many uncertainties, we are sure of one thing, the effects of the global pandemic will be felt by all of us for years to come. We can’t pretend that this will not be the case and it’s our duty to protect the company and the important gateway to Aruba’s economy, while providing a generous social plan for those colleagues who will no longer be part of the company in 2021. I have sincerely appreciated the critical but valuable input from the Minister during this difficult process. It helped us a lot in defining responsible packages with the Unions”, said AAA’s CEO Joost Meijs.