Zurich Airport operator Flughafen Zurich has reported a 60.5% drop in passenger numbers in the first half of 2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Based in Switzerland, the airport handled around 2.1 million passengers in the six months to June 2021, compared with 5.3 million in the same period last year.

The number of flight movements also dropped by 31.9% to 41,123 in the first half of the year.

However, the airport recorded an 18.6% increase in the number of freight flights in H1 2021. This also led to a 25.1% growth in the volume of freight handled by Zurich Airport to 180,788 tonnes.

Flughafen Zurich’s total revenue in the first half totalled $288.47m (Sfr263.6m), a fall of 15.1% on a year-on-year basis.

The company’s loss also increased to $49.35m (Sfr45.1m) in the first half of 2021 from $30.09m (Sfr27.5m) in the prior-year period. Flughafen Zurich also said that it has reduced its expenses.

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Flughafen Zurich chief financial officer Lukas Brosi said: “Despite a higher level of debt, Flughafen Zürich will continue to weather the crisis independently, thanks to a high equity ratio, adequate reserves and a diversified business model.

“The cuts in costs and investments are bearing fruit and the company’s liquidity is assured.”

Flughafen Zurich also noted that it has recorded an increase in flight operations and passenger volumes following the start of the summer holidays last month.

The company expects that passenger traffic may reach half of the pre-crisis levels by the end of this year if the current trend continues.

Flughafen Zurich CEO Stephan Widrig said: “We are confident that air travel will recover over the medium term. The world population is growing and becoming ever more globally interconnected, as a result of which the demand for international mobility will continue to increase.”