LONDON – Frankfurt Airport (FRA) welcomed some 18.8 m passengers in 2020, representing a decrease of 73.4% compared to 2019 numbers.
With the outbreak of the COVID-19 global pandemic, FRA started to experience a major decline in passenger traffic in mid-March 2020. Between April and June, traffic almost came to a complete standstill with weekly passenger figures plummeting by up to 98% year-on-year.
Following a slight traffic recovery in the Q3 of 2020, a new rise in coronavirus infection rates led to intensified travel restrictions. This resulted in passenger numbers falling sharply once again in September and remaining low for the rest of the year.
Movements at Frankfurt Airport
Aircraft movements at FRA contracted by 58.7% year-on-year to 212,235 takeoffs and landings in 2020. Accumulated maximum takeoff weights (MTOWs) shrank by 53.3% to about 14.9 m metric tons.
In comparison, cargo throughput (airfreight + airmail) registered a relatively minor dip of only 8.3% year-on-year to just under 2.0 m metric tons.
In December 2020, FRA’s passenger traffic slumped by 81.7% to 891,925 travelers. With 13,627 takeoffs and landings, aircraft movements declined by 62.8% compared to December 2019.
MTOWs were down 53.6% to about 1.1 m metric tons. Cargo throughput grew by 9.0% to 185,687 metric tons in December 2020, rising for the third consecutive month.
Frankfurt Airport’s international Portfolio
Across the Group, the airports in FRA’s international portfolio also recorded a sharp decline in passenger traffic during 2020. However, the Covid-19 pandemic impacted the individual Group airports to varying degrees over the months.
At times, regular passenger operations were even suspended at some airports. In addition, wide-ranging travel restrictions affected most of the Group airports beginning in the spring.
Traffic at Slovenia’s Ljubljana Airport (LJU) fell by 83.3% last year to 288,235 passengers. The Brazilian airports of Fortaleza (FOR) and Porto Alegre (POA) together received about 6.7 m passengers, representing a 56.7% decrease year-on-year.
Peru’s Lima Airport (LIM) reported a 70.3% slide in traffic to around 7.0 m passengers. Serving a total of about 8.6 m passengers in 2020, the 14 Greek regional airports experienced a 71.4% plunge in traffic.
Combined traffic at the Twin Star airports of Varna (VAR) and Burgas (BOJ) on the Bulgarian Black Sea coast decreased by 78.9% to about 1.0 m passengers. Antalya Airport (AYT) in Turkey registered a 72.6% decline in traffic to about 9.7 m passengers.
Last year, Russia’s Pulkovo Airport (LED) in St. Petersburg saw traffic drop by 44.1% to about 10.9 m passengers. Xi’an Airport (XIY) in China achieved a slight recovery in the course of the year, following a strong reduction in traffic during the spring. In 2020, XIY registered about 31.0 m passengers with a 34.2% decrease year-on-year.
Statement from Frankfurt Airport
Dr. Stefan Schulte, CEO of FRA, said, “The year 2020 brought extreme challenges to the entire aviation industry. In FRA, passenger volumes dropped to a level last seen in 1984.”
“Cargo traffic was one of the few bright spots, reaching almost the same level as in 2019, despite the loss of ‘belly freigh’ capacity on passenger aircraft. Aviation played a vital role in ensuring the supply of essential medical goods to the world’s population, particularly during the first lockdown.”
Schulte also said, “Because of the recent launch of vaccination programs throughout many countries, we are optimistic that travel restrictions will be gradually lifted beginning in the spring. Therefore, we expect FRA’s passenger traffic to rebound noticeably in the second half of 2021.”
“Nevertheless, we have to realize that a difficult year lies ahead of us. While we are confident passenger traffic will exceed last year’s level, we still expect FRA to reach only 35 to 45% of the 2019 level.”
Featured image: Terminal 1 overview. Photo: Frankfurt Airport