TAV Airports announced its financial results for the first three months of the year. The company achieved a turnover of 60,6 million euros during this period. TAV Airports, Turkey's leading brand in airport operations in the world, served 3,3 million passengers on domestic flights and 1,1 million passengers on international routes in the first quarter of the year, as a result of flight restrictions imposed by the pandemic.
TAV Airports CEO Sani Şener said, “In the first quarter of 2021, our passenger traffic continued to be affected by flight restrictions stemming from the pandemic. However, we should add here that the first quarter is the weakest quarter in terms of international passenger seasonality. For example, in the first quarter of 2019, we served 10 percent of our total annual international passengers. Domestic traffic, which is very seasonally low, continues to recover much faster than the international line. As of March 2021, we have reached the level of 2019 percent of 46 passengers in domestic traffic.
Due to this decrease in passengers, we quickly took cost-cutting measures in 2020 and achieved significant reductions in our operating expenses (*). In the first quarter of 2021, when our cost reduction measures continued, our monthly operating expenses at 21.4 million euros were 2020 percent lower than the fourth quarter of 4.
In February 2021, the force majeure application we made to the State Airports Authority was concluded and the operating periods of the airports we operate in Turkey were extended by two years each. In addition, the lease payments we will make in 2022 have been postponed to 2024.
In February, we concluded the Tunisian debt restructuring negotiations that you have been working on since 2015. As a result of the restructuring, the bank debt of TAV Tunisia, which was 2020 million Euros as of 371 third quarter financials, decreased to 233,6 million Euros. We wrote a revenue of 2021m euros in the first quarter of 109.0 due to a decrease in debt. As a result of these productive negotiations with Tunisian creditors, this revenue enabled us to close the first quarter of 2021 with a net profit of 62 million Euros.
With the signing of the Almaty share purchase agreement, we tried to complete some legal and financial conditions required for the transfer of shares. Unfortunately, the completion of these requirements took longer than we expected. Travel restrictions caused by the pandemic slowed down the processes of doing business, causing this delay. Almost all of these conditions have been completed and the pre-approval of the loans to be used in the financing of the project by IFC and EBRD has been obtained. We will take over and start operating the airport when the environmental impacts that we are currently working on regarding the project are resolved. The projected date is now the second quarter of 2021.
Vaccination continues at full speed in the world. 20 million doses have been reached with the vaccination campaign carried out in Turkey. These positive news from the vaccination front keep our expectations about the summer - autumn season alive. Due to the continuation of the good news flow, we hope to see that our airports are again actively used in the period between July and November.
During the pandemic, we gave priority to the health of our employees and passengers. We have seriously reduced our expenses. I believe that TAV executives and all of our colleagues managed this crisis very well with the successful restructuring processes we have done with banks and the administrations we do business with. I would like to express my gratitude to our employees, shareholders and business partners for their full support to TAV, which has become a global brand in these difficult times. " said.