German Aviation Will Suffer From A Harsh Market In 2020

The German Airports Association has estimated that 2020 will be “dark and negative” as the nations aviation industry feels the effects of a harsh market. In the tail end of 2019, domestic passenger numbers in Germany suffered huge decreases.

Germany, Air Traffic, Passenger Numbers
German aviation will suffer from a harsh market in 2020. Photo: Getty Images

It looks as though this is set to continue into 2020 with the CEO of the German Airports Association telling FAZ, a local Frankfurt newspaper, Air traffic in Germany will not be able to maintain the growth path of recent years in 2020″. Total passenger growth per year has taken a hit in 2019, up just 0.2% in 2018.

0.7% fewer passengers

According to The Local, Ralph Beisel told the FAZ that he expected total passengers in Germany would decrease by 0.7% in 2020. If total passenger numbers do indeed fall in 2020, this will be the first time in Germany since at least 2015.

Lufthansa A340 rainbow
Numbers are already starting to fall. Photo: Getty Images

With the exception of last year, the nation has experienced fairly healthy growth in passenger numbers. From 2015 to 2016 passenger numbers rose by 3.4%. From 2016 to 2017 this rise was 5.2%, and 4.1% from 2017 to 2018. However, from 2018-2019, total passengers rose by just 0.2%.

Drop already being felt

A drop in passengers is already being detected. Between August and November, German domestic passenger numbers fell month on month.

Germany, Domestic Travel, Flight Shaming
Domestic passenger numbers are diving! Image: Simple Flying | Data Source: ADV German Airport Association

The effect of the domestic passenger fall is already being felt in Germany’s total passenger numbers. Simple Flying analysed data from the German Airport Association from the past five years. With the exception of December 2017, total passenger for the month in Germany has always been higher than the previous year.

Germany, Flight Shame, Passenger Numbers
Monthly passenger numbers are beginning to fall year on year. Image: Simple Flying | Data Source: ADV German Airport Association

In September, October, and November 2019 passenger numbers for the month were lower than the previous year. In September 2019, passengers were down by around 53,000 as opposed to the previous year. While 53,000 is negligible, in October passenger numbers fell by 343,737 or around 1.4 per cent. This again increased in November, with passengers falling by 667,374 year on year. A fall of 3.7 per cent.

What’s causing the fall?

Speaking to the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Mr Beisel said:

“The harsh market environment, characterized by rising kerosene prices and insolvencies, is also driving airlines to radically thin out their flight schedules.”

Germany, Air Traffic, Passenger Numbers
Ralph Beisel told how 2020 will be “dark and negative” for German aviation. Photo: German Airports Association

However, these are issues that are being felt across the industry, not just in Germany. Both WOW Air and FlyBMI directly attributed their collapse to the high cost of aviation fuel. German low-cost carrier Germania also blamed the cost of fuel for its collapse last February. How badly will the industry suffer? Well, it’s hard to say with certainty. However, we’ll continue to monitor the numbers.

What do you make of the decline in German passenger numbers? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!