Air traffic in Germany continues to grow

Recovery of air traffic continues unabated. In May 2021, DFS, the German air navigation service provider, controlled almost 98,000 flights in German airspace. DFS expects further increases in the summer and autumn.

11.06.2021.- Air traffic in the Federal Republic of Germany continues to revive. In May, DFS registered a total of 97,806 take-offs, landings and overflights in German airspace. After increases in March and April, the upward trend is continuing, albeit from a low level. In May 2021, twice as many flights were registered than in the prior-year month. However, this is only one third of the pre-pandemic traffic volume (May 2019: 301,582 flights). Between January and May, a total of 402,136 flights were recorded - a decrease of 69.2 per cent (January to May 2019: 1,306,342 flights).

DFS, however, expects air traffic to recover and even accelerate. "The traffic forecasts for Europe as well as our own analyses assume a noticeable increase in traffic volumes in the coming months," said DFS CEO Arndt Schoenemann. Especially in autumn, the industry expects a stronger increase in traffic, according to him. "Due to the progress with vaccinations, we are expecting that many people will take the opportunity to fly on holiday again. Because of this catch-up effect, we anticipate traffic peaks of up to 85 per cent." 

DFS has developed a recovery plan in order to be well prepared for this increase in traffic. "After many months of exceptional circumstances, DFS is now approaching normality again. This is good news not only for our company but for the entire aviation industry," said Schoenemann. Overall, DFS expects an increase to 65 per cent of the pre-pandemic level by the end of this year. According to the forecasts, the 2019 traffic volume will probably not be reached again before 2024.

Graphic: air traffic in Germany
Graphic: air traffic at German airports
Graphic: air traffic at German airports May 2021

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DFS Deutsche Flugsicherung GmbH, the German air navigation service provider, is a State-owned company under private law with 5,600 employees as at 31 December 2020. DFS ensures the safe and punctual flow of air traffic over Germany. Before 2020, around 2,200 air traffic controllers guided up to 10,000 flights in German airspace every day, more than 3 million movements every year. The company operates control centres in Langen, Bremen, Karlsruhe and Munich as well as control towers at the 15 designated international airports in Germany. The subsidiary DFS Aviation Services GmbH markets and sells products and services related to air navigation services, and provides air traffic control at nine regional airports in Germany and at London Gatwick Airport and Edinburgh Airport in the UK. R. Eisenschmidt GmbH is another DFS subsidiary which markets publications and products for General Aviation. Kaufbeuren ATM Training (KAT) is responsible for training military air traffic services personnel. DFS has been working on the integration of drones into air traffic since 2016 and has set up a joint venture, Droniq GmbH, with Deutsche Telekom.