We’re strengthening our commitment to provide mobility solutions and help alleviate this societal emergency in the face of the current health crisis.
The pandemic has created an exceptional situation, during which Ferrovial has deployed all of our capabilities on three fronts:
PROTECTING WORKERS AND USERS
From the start of this health emergency, our highest priority has been maintaining safety in the workplace and protecting the health of our employees and users by following the guidelines put forth by the WHO and authorities in each country.
Primary measures implemented:
- Setting up teleworking for all activities likely to benefit from remote work.
- Intensifying protection and hygiene measures in the workplace for face-to-face activities. We have reinforced training and distribution of the requisite PPE. At key locations, we have done daily temperature checks for employees.
- Suspending face-to-face meetings and non-essential travel.
- Strengthening internal communication through a newsletter to provide relevant information for workers and promote the best hygiene and protection practices against COVID.
- At Heathrow and AGS, a temporary restriction of operations to protect workers’ health. We’re actively working with the NHS to increase passenger safety, rolling out hundreds of hand sanitizer dispensers, emphasizing cleanliness, and installing new signage to ensure social distancing measures.
- In the United Kingdom, the US, and Canada, we have expanded the Employee Assistance Program to include family members and offer support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
- In the US and Canada, we have also provided resources for workers to help them with their children’s homeschooling assignments.
Talking with Ignacio Madridejos, our CEO
We play an important role in managing priority infrastructures and providing essential services.
Through Services, we have helped alleviate the health crisis by strengthening our operations in activities considered essential after the declaration of the state of emergency.
- Spain.- our professionals serve more than 25 million citizens. These critical services, performed by over 16,000 employees, include operating the health emergency telephone lines in Madrid, Castilla La Mancha, Andalusia, Castilla y León, Murcia, Aragon, Cantabria, and Catalonia (we have answered 85,000 calls a day, doubling shifts and adding 500 new hires); managing ambulances and telecare in Madrid and La Rioja; maintenance and cleaning for the main hospitals across the country (with more than 40,000 beds in 13 Autonomous Communities); and handling clinical and pharmaceutical waste, all of which are essential for daily operation. Of course, we have bolstered street cleaning and collection services in the 13 Autonomous Communities where we operate, tasks for which we have put a collection and management protocol in place to ensure both the proper operation of the service and maximum security, both for workers and residents. For example, in Murcia, we have intensified cleaning and disinfection services, with 400 operators working to meet the demand of public administrations and residents.
- United Kingdom.- 9,900 Amey employees have been classified as essential workers for the proper functioning of British infrastructure and public services during the pandemic: roadway maintenance for highways (30,000 km) and railways, waste collection (20 locations, 615,000 homes), treatment plants, facility management at schools and health services (NHS Birmingham & Solihull Mental Health Trust in 21 locations, 1,300,000 people), national security (maintenance of 50,000 homes and 23,000 buildings and facilities belonging to the Ministry of Defense), Ministry of Justice (18 courtrooms, 60 inmate detention and transfer centers), and maintenance for utility companies (water, electricity, gas).
- Portugal.- Every day, 350 of our employees are carrying out cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfection tasks at three public hospitals: IPO Lisboa, Centro Hospitalar Lisboa Occidental, and Hospital Distrital de Santarém. These centers have around 1,500 beds in all, taking extreme measures for protection and security wherever possible. Furthermore, we’re carrying out cleaning and disinfection work at the field hospitals set up in the Estoril Congress Center and the CERCICA at São Domingos de Rana (Lisbon District).
- Chile.- We have ensured continuity of the state copper company Codelco’s business, as well as the safety of all its employees, by disinfecting its facilities.
Our highways and airports are critical facilities for ensuring the movement of goods and the provision of basic medical supplies in the markets where we operate. As such, they have stayed at the optimum operating level.
- On highways, the proper functioning of all facilities has been ensured to meet the needs for transporting food, medicine, and basic goods. Steps have also been taken to facilitate healthcare workers’ mobility, for instance, by providing them with free access to the 407 ETR in Toronto.
- To ensure its viability and future employment, Heathrow and AGS have reduced operations, closed terminals, cut costs, slashed part of executive compensation, and renegotiated contracts. Heathrow is maintaining sufficient liquidity to operate in this way for twelve more months.
- We’re continuing to provide essential services for connectivity and supply:
- Heathrow is staying open to provide essential services (connection to the Isle of Man and Belfast), repatriation, and to receive critical supplies for the United Kingdom (food, medicine, health equipment, etc.).
- In 2019, 41% of the UK’s pharmaceutical imports landed at Heathrow.
- At AGS, activities are focused on repatriating British citizens, links to remote regions of the Highlands and Islands, air ambulance services for the NHS, and helicopters for the oil industry.
- At Heathrow, we are actively working at the international level to establish a new International Common Security Standard to resume air activity. To do so, technologies such as UV disinfection, temperature recognition scanners, and contactless security procedures are being tested.
- We’re fighting for the survival of the airline industry: Heathrow has relaxed conditions for maintaining slots and waived fees for aircraft parking. Advance payments of growth incentives have also been instituted, which has helped increase cash flow for airlines.
In Construction activities, protection and hygiene measures have been strengthened, and precautionary and distancing measures have been increased. After many projects were initially stopped, work is resuming as the restrictions declared by the competent authorities in each country are lifted.
Ensuring business continuity and sustainability in the medium- and long-term is another priority. We are monitoring the impact of the pandemic on our activity and taking steps in a dynamic plan to secure our future. As of December 31, the company had a liquidity position close to €6 billion and a net cash position of approximately €1.6 billion; as such, the debt maturities expected in 2020 (€1.017 billion) are covered.
COMMITMENTS AND SOLIDARITY
We’ve organized the “Ferrovial Together COVID-19” initiative, a fund to fight the pandemic. The company is making an initial contribution of €5 million, and, along with that, we have launched a fundraising initiative among employees, directors, shareholders, collaborators, suppliers, and anyone who wants to participate in increasing the amount. We will double the amount raised to reach their contribution, up to €10 million.
“Ferrovial Together COVID-19” will be used for donations to the Health Administration, hospitals, universities, and research and development centers, as well as NGOs in a specific set of projects. These projects will focus on acquiring medical supplies and equipment and investigating pharmacological solutions or vaccines to combat the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. We will also donate funds to help vulnerable groups or those at risk of exclusion as a result of the current health crisis. Awarding the
We’ve already completed the first tranche of the fund distribution, composed as follows:
- Healthcare equipment.- €2 million were earmarked for the acquisition of 700,000 FFP2 masks and 70 respirators that are being donated to the Communities of Madrid, Valencia, Andalusia, Castilla-La Mancha, Galicia, and Cantabria. In addition, 20 respirators have been donated to the United Kingdom’s National Health Service, approximately valued at another €60,000.
- Medical research.- €400,000 are meant for research into the development of a vaccine for the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus. The National Center for Biotechnology, which is part of the Higher Council for Scientific Research (Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, or CSIC in Spanish), will receive €250,000, which will go to two projects for developing vaccines. One is based on reconstructing the virus genome from chemically synthesized DNA fragments. The second is based on developing a vaccine based on the S protein. Another center that will also benefit from these funds, receiving a sum of €150,000, is the Baylor College of Medicine in Texas, the United States, which is currently working on the development of a vaccine to modify the virus’s proteins.
- Social Aid.- €1 million is dedicated to collaborating with prestigious institutions in this activity. The entities that will benefit are Cáritas in Spain, the Food Bank (through various local food banks) in the United States, and the SSAFA Emergency Response Fund, the Lighthouse Construction Charity, and The Trussell Trust in the United Kingdom. Along with these sums, we must add a €10,000 donation to the Foundation of the College of Civil Engineers (Fundación del Colegio de Ingenieros de Caminos) to provide assistance to professionals directly affected by the pandemic.
- Countries.- For now, the fund’s distribution would be as follows: Spain, €2,510,000; the United States, €650,000; and the United Kingdom, €310,000.
From the start, along with our workers, we have shown a high level of commitment to society. Let’s see it by country:
- APP.- We, along with other companies, have participated in the development of the informative, self-diagnostic applications “coronamadrid” and “asistenciaCOVID-19”.
- Field hospitals.- We have offered to set up collective spaces such as sports pavilions and fairgrounds for healthcare uses, such as the installation of a field hospital at IFEMA (the Feria de Madrid), whose total capacity amounts to 5,500 beds, making it the largest hospital in Spain. There, 60 of our professionals have worked selflessly to assemble 1,600 beds and 30 kilometers of a medicinal gas network that reaches each of the beds in two days. Furthermore, they’ve managed the waste generated at the hospital, where hazardous and non-hazardous waste collection and compaction equipment has been installed, as well as an intra-center management service (which consists of an operation that works 16 hours a day), four self-compactors, and five daily waste collection routes.
- Testing Centers.- We have also offered our construction and design capabilities for building Rapid Test Centers, and the installation of vehicle-based Testing Centers has begun in the Balearic Islands. In Madrid and Santander, we have made 830 parking spaces available to healthcare workers, free of charge.
- 3D Printing.- As for our Digital Hub, there we have participated in the creation of low cost assisted breathing devices using 3D printing and electronics. The project documentation will be openly available. We’re also participating in another group in the Jaén Technology Park for manufacturing face masks and visors with 3D printing. Up to 400 masks could be produced daily with collaboration from individuals and other companies.
- Screens.- Donation of 800 protective screens for healthcare workers at different centers in Madrid, Toledo, and Guadalajara. 3D printing technology and the fastening elements from hardhats commonly used in construction have been used in their assembly.
- Free parking: Both Serrano Park in Madrid and Valdecilla in Santander granted healthcare workers free use of 830 parking spaces. At the latter hospital, we have also responded to the request from the Spanish Association against Cancer (Asociación Española contra el Cáncer) to provide free parking for oncology patients.
- Free TV for patients: at the Valdecilla Hospital in Santander, we made it possible for Covid patients in isolation to have free television service.
“Ferrovial Juntos COVID-19” Fund
- Social aid.- Through the Heathrow Community Trust, we have distributed £95,000 in aid to NGOs, food banks, and aid organizations for isolated and vulnerable individuals in order to equip them with technology that allows them to continue studying and stay in touch with friends and family. The HCT will continue to distribute resources each week as funds become available. The weekly fruit boxes for Heathrow staff have been donated to the NHS. Glasgow and AGS have donated £40,000 to the NGO Simon Community to help homeless people isolate themselves in a hotel if they are infected.
- Healthcare equipment: Donation of 6,000 FFP3 masks for NHS personnel working at Thames Valley Air Ambulance and the Hillingdon Hospital. The Tideway Project has donated 800 masks and 250 protective suits. The Northern Line Extension has donated 550 masks, 195 protective suits, 420 gloves, and 500 disposable gloves.
- Tests.- The Glasgow and Aberdeen airports have rolled out in-vehicle testing centers in their parking lots for essential and healthcare personnel, in collaboration with the NHS.
- 3D Printing.- Southampton airport engineers have worked on the design and printing of sewing patterns so that a Winchester community can sew protective suits for healthcare professionals. They have also helped create adjustable fasteners for healthcare professionals’ masks using 3D printing.
- Volunteering. The communications campaign, “10 Ways to Safely Help Your Community,” has helped advise our employees on to work with the communities where they live with a set of rules for steps to take, maintaining strict health surveillance at all times. This project ranges from financial donations and helping the elderly to ways to “volunteer from home.”
- Health and social aid.- The 407 ETR highway in Toronto has donated 5.2 million Canadian dollars to support communities and healthcare workers against the coronavirus. Some $4 million (CAD) will be spent over the next three years on vulnerable individuals and families in the towns of Durham, Halton, Hamilton, Peel, Toronto, and York to provide them with long-term support. With this donation, the 407 ETR is becoming the United Way’s first corporate partner in Canada, an NGO that has been supporting the country’s local communities for over 100 years. It will also donate $1.2 million (CAD) so that up to 24 hospitals in the Toronto and Hamilton Metropolitan Area can access medical supplies, such as personal protective equipment or care equipment for critically-ill patients.
- Free access for healthcare workers.– In March, the 407 also donated more than $300,000 (CAD) to personnel who work in hospitals so that they can use this asset for free.
- Social aid.- We have centralized aid from Budimex through the program called, “We are together. WE HELP,” from which one million zlotys of medical supplies have been donated for hospitals.
- Volunteering.– Our Polish employees have also voluntarily work with Warsaw’s “Central Clinical” hospital to adapt the facilities to receive patients with Covid.
- Social aid.- We have worked with others on distributing 530 batches of basic products, valued at over €7,000, to some communities at risk of exclusion.