Domestic flights collapsed: two-thirds fewer passengers than before Corona

Status: 01/31/2022 10:24 am

While air freight continues to grow, passenger numbers in 2021 remained well below pre-crisis levels. Low-cost airlines such as Ryanair and Easyjet expect their business to boom in the summer.

According to current data from the Federal Statistical Office, German air traffic remained well below the pre-corona level in 2021. The number of passengers at German airports rose by 27.3 percent to 73.6 million people compared to the previous year. But that was still just under a third (32.4 percent) of the volume from the record year 2019.

While traffic within Europe recovered significantly, 19.3 percent fewer passengers flew on domestic connections than in 2020. There was only slight growth in intercontinental flights due to a significantly lower number of flights and stricter regulations. The number of passengers here remained below a quarter of the pre-crisis level.

Air freight benefits

Air freight, which is also benefiting from problems in global shipping, offers a completely different picture. In view of the handling problems in the container ports, the demand for air transport has increased significantly. The volume handled in Germany, including airmail, rose by 17.5 percent to 5.3 million tons in 2021. This amount also exceeded the pre-crisis value of 2019 by 12.7 percent.

In the aviation industry, however, confidence is growing that passenger numbers will also increase significantly this year. Europe’s largest low-cost airline Ryanair is even planning more flights for the summer than before the Corona crisis. The summer capacity offered is currently 14 percent higher than in summer 2019. Ryanair’s British competitor Easyjet is also expecting high booking numbers this summer after the British government lifted the corona rules for entry into England. Easyjet wants to hire a total of 1,000 pilots over the next five years.

Last minute bookings

However, as a result of the Omicron wave, customers are still holding back on booking tickets. Customers continued to buy their tickets at very short notice, according to Ryanair. The Irish company therefore wants to boost demand in the current quarter with significant price reductions.

In the final quarter of 2021, Ryanair counted around 31.1 million travelers, almost four times as many as at the beginning of the first Corona winter a year earlier. Sales rose even more sharply to almost 1.5 billion euros. The bottom line was a loss of 96 million euros, around 70 percent less than in the same period last year. For the current financial year until the end of March, Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary still expects a loss of between 250 and 450 million euros, after having assumed a minus of 100 to 200 million euros until shortly before Christmas.

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