Aviation industry relies on do-it-yourself economy

The summer of 2022 is still vivid in the memories of many passengers: tens of thousands of canceled flights, delays, seemingly endless queues at the security checkpoints – indescribable chaos everywhere. So what will next summer actually be like, when presumably significantly more passengers want to go on holiday again and meet seriously annoyed business travelers at the airports?

“If everyone pulls together, we’ll be able to do that this summer,” says Jost Lammers, President of the German Aviation Association (BDL) and Head of the Munich Airport Company (FMG). Sounds pretty good when you first listen, but only then. Because Lammers has “high expectations of the system stability” – in other words: it will work – but immediately limits that “a lot of cogs have to mesh.”

The good news from the passenger perspective is that the industry will no longer be caught off guard by an unexpectedly rapid increase in demand (plus 110 percent) like in 2022. Nevertheless, air traffic in Germany has only reached 70 percent of the 2019 level, in the rest of Europe it is already 84 percent. The main reason is that the low-cost airlines have not returned to the German market so quickly for a long time – high fees and an aggressive Lufthansa, which vehemently defends its hubs in Munich and Frankfurt against unloved invaders such as Ryanair and Easyjet, play a central role in this.

But the bad news is that there are a lot of “uncertainties” from Lammers’ point of view. In Germany there is almost full employment, airlines and airports, like many others, find it extremely difficult to find additional employees. Introducing better security control devices that offer more throughput takes time. Air traffic control is introducing new IT systems, which could lead to bottlenecks. A major military exercise called “Air Defender 2023” is taking place in Germany in June, which is also unlikely to benefit civilian flight capacities. So it remains difficult.

Significantly, the industry is banking on the passengers themselves doing a lot to make the journey smoother. It is best for you to check in online and leave your luggage at the machines. In addition, Lammers “strongly advises not to travel with more than one piece of hand luggage.”

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