As of: 13.09.2021 12:29 p.m.
The easing of travel thanks to increasing vaccination rates has given Frankfurt Airport the highest monthly passenger numbers since the beginning of the pandemic. But there is still a long way to go before the pre-crisis level.
More passengers took off and landed at Frankfurt Airport in August than in any other month since the beginning of the Corona crisis. The operator Fraport counted almost 3.4 million passengers at Germany’s largest hub. That was around 123 percent more than in August 2020 – but still a good half less than before the Corona crisis in August 2019. Compared to August 2020, the volume of freight and airmail increased by a good 13 percent to 178,223 tons. That is 5.3 percent than in August 2019, i.e. before the pandemic.
The foreign participations developed in a similarly positive manner. The majority of the Group’s airports achieved significant year-on-year growth of over one hundred percent in some cases. Overall, however, the airports lagged significantly behind August 2019. Only important holiday destinations such as the Greek airports and Antalya in Turkey have already reached around 80 percent of the pre-crisis level.
Industry expects “difficult winter”
After the boom in travel in the summer, Fraport boss Stefan Schulte is expecting a “difficult winter”, as he said a few days ago. As early as September and October, passenger numbers are likely to fall back towards 40 percent of the pre-crisis level. For the current year, Schulte expects a total of “under 20 to 25 million” passengers in Frankfurt. In 2020, the number of passengers dropped to less than 19 million, after the airport had a record year of more than 70 million in 2019.
The main reason for the fluctuations is the different development of business and private trips, according to the Fraport boss. According to Schultes, more business trips are likely to take place in the upcoming winter than during the peak of the pandemic. However, tourist trips could then be missing, as many people are unsettled about the further development of the number of infections.
According to Schulte, it is currently not possible to estimate when air traffic will recover completely and 70 million passengers will be counted again in Frankfurt. In his forecast up to 2026, the airport boss assumes that there will continue to be fewer business travelers than before the pandemic. Future growth would therefore have to come from vacationers and other private travelers.