On Tuesday, Marc Cezanne, in his role as managing director of Paderborn / Lippstadt Airport, filed for insolvency, which had been expected for several weeks. The Supervisory Board previously gave the green light for this step. An application was made for insolvency proceedings in self-administration.
“In particular due to the massive decline in flight movements as a result of the Corona crisis, extensive corporate restructuring has become necessary. In fact, the current passenger numbers are 85 percent below the level of the same period in the previous year and it will probably take some time before the passenger numbers almost reach the pre-crisis level again ”, said airport director Cezanne.
Even before the corona pandemic, the regional airport was unable to cover operating and investment costs with its own revenues. The annual loss in 2019 led to an outflow of liquidity, which, due to state aid requirements, could not be compensated by the municipal shareholders in this amount. Consensus is that the airport company can only exist in the future if the cost structures are adjusted to the expected revenues.
The renovation concept provides for Paderborn / Lippstadt Airport to retain the status of a commercial airport with air traffic control and to continue to operate 24 hours a day. In view of the lower flight movements, however, it is not commercially justifiable to maintain the capacities for aircraft handling at the previous level. A general reduction in aircraft handling capacities will significantly reduce costs. However, this does not mean that flights planned in the future will be rejected. As soon as demand increases again, it will be possible to gradually utilize the airport's infrastructure up to its capacity limit of well over a million passengers a year.
The consequence of this is that Paderborn Airport will significantly reduce its workforce. According to the operating company, negotiations are already underway with the works council. The unions are also to be involved in order to be able to introduce a 24-hour service for the fire brigade. This should be an indispensable part of the renovation.
The responsible district court in Paderborn granted the application for self-administration and appointed the lawyer Yorck Streitbörger as the airport's general agent. The 167 employees at the airport are to receive insolvency money from the German Federal Employment Agency up to and including November 2020. The court also appointed the lawyer Stefan Meyer as provisional trustee.
In a media statement, the airport company writes that a financing concept is already in place. This includes, among other things, payments from the shareholders: Districts of Paderborn, Soest, Gütersloh, Lippe, Hochsauerland, Höxter, City of Bielefeld and the East Westphalia Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Bielefeld and Lippe. The shareholder structure could, however, change in the course of the proceedings. “The bankruptcy in self-administration and the restructuring that takes place in this context will not have any negative effects on passengers and airport users. Rather, the renovation measures serve to secure the airport location, which is important for the region, in the long term. At the same time, the financial burden on the shareholders and thus on the cities and municipalities is significantly reduced, ”says Streitbörger.