Germany records lowest air travel since reunification

Germany records lowest air travel since reunification

Germany records lowest air travel since reunification

The Federal Statistical Office (Destatis) has recorded the lowest number of travellers to have flown from or landed at the largest 24 airports in Germany since 1991. The figures show that the number of passengers in 2020 fell by 74,5 percent compared to the previous year.

Commercial air travel plummets

Over the course of 2020, air travel was severely limited due to the restrictions that were implemented to try and halt the spread of the coronavirus in Germany. Only around 57,8 million passengers took-off or landed at Germany’s airports in 2020, the lowest value since 63 million passengers was recorded at airports in the newly reunified Germany in 1991. Last year the number of passengers dropped by around 75 percent compared to 2019, which saw a record 226,7 passengers pass through Germany’s 24 largest airports.

Compared with the previous year, the number of both domestic and international passengers did not fall by that much in January and February 2020. However, in March, as coronavirus restrictions started to be implemented, the number of passengers fell by 62,2 percent.

In the following three months, air travel almost came to a complete halt. Compared with 2019, the number of passengers passing through German airports fell by 98,6 percent in April, 98 percent in May and 93,9 percent in June. From July to October, air traffic picked up slightly, with the number of passengers dropping between 75 and 83 percent. Then, as restrictions got tighter in response to the second coronavirus wave, the number of passengers fell again in November (90,1 percent) and December (87,7 percent).

Flying internationally

The number of domestic passengers travelling by plane fell by 75 percent in 2020, as did the number of passengers flying to or from international airports. This amounts to a 74 percent decrease in travellers from EU countries and a 77 percent decrease in intercontinental travellers. Air traffic from the US and China declined particularly significantly in 2020, falling by 80 percent and 88 percent respectively.

Air-freight traffic also falls

The volume of air-freight and air-mail also fell overall in 2020, although it fell much less drastically than the number of passengers. Overall, 4,5 million tonnes of air freight and mail was transported to and from Germany’s airports, a drop of 4,1 percent compared to 2019. The volume of air freight dropped the most in April when it fell by 14,4 percent compared to 2019. However, in the last four months of the year, the volume of air freight actually increased past the 2019 level.

William Nehra


William Nehra

William studied a masters in Classics at the University of Amsterdam. He is a big fan of Ancient History and football, particularly his beloved Watford FC.

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