Photo: Wikicommons

LONDON – 2020 was the hardest year in Hamburg Airport’s (HAM) post-war history with passenger traffic dropping 73.7%.

The coronavirus pandemic struck the economically sound airport like a lightning bolt, bringing operations to a complete standstill at times and resulting in traffic levels that barely matched those of the 1980s, with around 4.56 million passengers.

This was 26.3% of the passenger volume seen in 2019. Despite these challenging circumstances, airlines maintained variety within the HAM route network with up to 70 direct routes still in place.

Photo: Wikicommons

Q4 Passengers Numbers for Previous Years


2020 HAM level of passengers are similar to those seen at the airport not since 1984. Such a devastating decline in passenger figures has never been experienced in the history of HAM.

Additionally, with around 66,300 take-offs and landings, the number of aircraft movements declined by 56.8% in 2020, compared to the previous year (2019: 155,200 flights).  

In terms of commercial flights, encompassing primarily scheduled and charter traffic, the decline was even stronger: the number of take-offs and landings sank by 63%, from 140,800 flights in 2019 to around 52,100 in 2020.

The airlines maintained a pared back essential service even in the most difficult lockdown period to ensure mobility for Hamburg and northern Germany.

The average number of passengers per flight in 2020 was 88, compared to an average of 124 in 2019. The average number of seats per flight decreased from 159 to 148. Compared to 2019, the load factor on flights to/from HAM fell by 18.2 percentage points to 59.6%.

Terminal 1. Photo: Wikicommons

Future Plans


Although the coronavirus crisis hit HAM hard, important projects such as the refurbishment of Apron 1, the roof repairs on Terminal 2 and the modernization of the the baggage conveyor system and central security checkpoint were completed.

furthermore, new services for passengers were introduced. The Self-Bag-Drop kiosks for rapid, non-contact checking of baggage are now available to passengers in Terminal 2 as well as Terminal 1.

The HAM Lounge was already completely renovated at the start of the year, providing innovative workplaces and seating with great views over the apron. 

In the current situation, it is still difficult to produce reliable forecasts for 2021. HAM is therefore forced to continue to think in terms of scenarios. As such, for the current year, HAM expects a slight recovery in passenger figures.

Photo: Wikicommons

Statement from Hamburg Airport


Michael Eggenschwiler, CEO of HAM, said, “The coronavirus pandemic is maintaining its stranglehold on air travel. In the recent history of HAM, we have never entered a new year facing such difficult conditions.”

“Many airlines are planning to further reduce their timetables in the coming weeks. But for the summer timetable, we anticipate a slight recovery.”

“Tests and vaccinations are giving us hope. Going on summer vacation by plane will be possible again in 2021.”

Photo: Wikicommons

“We can sense that people want to be mobile, they want to explore the world and they want to finally see their friends and families again after months of separation. We are already preparing for demand to start climbing again as soon as travel becomes easier.”

Eggenschwiler also said, “We are currently anticipating around 48% of the 2019 passenger volume for 2021 as a whole, but that remains a cautious assumption. We hope that the vaccine will bring the turnaround people are craving.”

“Tourist traffic has a very important role to play. We assume that the private travel sector will recover more quickly than business travel.”


Featured image: Photo: wikicommons