ADP cuts Paris air traffic forecast as recovery outlook dims

PARIS, Feb 17 (Reuters) - French airport operator ADP cut its full-year Paris traffic forecast, amid mounting pessimism across the aviation sector about the prospects of a summer recovery from the COVID-19 travel slump.

ADP, operator of the French capital’s Orly and Roissy Charles de Gaulle airports, also said it swung to a 1.169 billion euro ($1.41 billion) net loss in 2020 from a year-earlier profit of 588 million.

Air traffic at the Paris hubs is now expected to reach just 35-45% of pre-crisis levels in 2021, ADP said, compared with a previous forecast of 45-55%.

The outlook for the critical European summer season has dimmed as the spread of more infectious virus variants triggers new lockdowns and travel curbs.

ADP’s urgent cost cuts and an investment freeze nonetheless resulted in 168 million euros in earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA), Chief Executive Augustin de Romanet said in a company statement.

Amid deep uncertainty over the pace of an eventual recovery in long-haul and business traffic, ADP reiterated that it expected a return to full 2019 volumes in Paris in 2024 at the earliest, and perhaps as late as 2027.

$1 = 0.8304 euros Reporting by Laurence Frost; Editing by Richard Chang