Traffic growth accelerates


With the start of the holiday season, the upward trend in air traffic volumes has continued and intensified. In July 2021, DFS Deutsche Flugsicherung, the German air navigation service provider, recorded the strongest traffic increase of the year so far. For the first time since March 2020, air traffic reached more than 50 percent of the pre-pandemic level.

This recovery, which began in March 2021 and gained further momentum in June, is continuing. And it has clearly accelerated. In July, 182,545 flights under instrument flight rules were logged in German airspace. After the number of flights had already reached around 42 percent of the pre-pandemic level in June, it exceeded the 50-percent mark in July for the first time since the outbreak of the pandemic. Compared to 2019, the traffic volume amounted to 57 percent in July 2021.

With reference to the whole year, however, the effects of the massive drop in air traffic are still noticeable. Between January and July, a total of around 714,000 flights were recorded in German airspace. Despite all these increases, there were still 63 percent fewer flights than in the first seven months of 2019.

An upward trend is also evident at German airports. While the number of take-offs and landings was still around 62 percent below the 2019 level in June, DFS recorded a decline of only 47 percent in July. The front-runner among the major aviation hubs remains Frankfurt Airport, which counted 27,578 take-offs and landings in July, approximately 41 percent fewer compared to the pre-crisis month. 

Munich Airport also showed a clear upward trend. Here, DFS logged 15,857 aircraft movements, about 58 percent fewer than before the pandemic. Leipzig Airport continues to be the least affected by the decline, and its high share of air freight clearly distinguishes it from other airports: It recorded 6,437 take-offs and landings, only 5.1 percent fewer than in June 2019.

"We currently observe a very positive development and hope that this trend will continue," said DFS CEO Arndt Schoenemann. "Everything is being done to get a grip on the pandemic. But the entire industry will need a lot of perseverance. In view of the massive losses, we still need many busy months before air traffic fully recovers."

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Media contact: 
Kristina Kelek
Telephone: +49 (0)6103) 707-4161 
E-mail: presse@dfs.de 

DFS Deutsche Flugsicherung GmbH, the German air navigation service provider, is a State-owned company under private law with 5,600 employees as at 30 June 2021. 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.