New Global Aviation Monitor: World wide Decline of Air Traffic seems to be stopped

1 July 2010

 DLR-Wissenschaftler erwarten ein positives Wachstum des Luftverkehrs
zum Bild DLR scientists expect a positive growth of air traffic.
The strong decline of world wide air traffic seems to be stopped. The negative growth rates have approached the zero point in the last months. Towards the end of 2009 even positive growth is thinkable again. This is one of the core statements of the new air traffic study Global Aviation Monitor (GAM), which has been issued by DLR.

The significant changes are mainly due to the growth in Asia and Middle East, but also in North America – the major air transport market - the negative growth has stopped. As opposed to this, air traffic in Europe and also in Germany will be likely to continue declining in the next three months. The quarterly report issued by the DLR institute Air Transport and Airport Research realistically describes the current traffic situation in the individual world regions and provides an overview of the development during the next three months. Statements on the global flight supply and on the European and German market as well as on the individual airports and airlines are made.

The DLR study GAM focuses on more than 3500 airports and 850 airlines.

 Neue DLR-Studie: Global Aviation Monitor (GAM)
zum Bild New DLR-Study: Global Aviation Monitor (GAM)

Scientists have monitored more than 3500 airports and about 850 airlines. Since the fifties a continuous growth is seen for aviation. Thus, for example, the oil crisis or the 9/11 terror attacks have caused such drops. Particularly in the last years a strong growth has revealed for aviation. After having reached the peak in 2008 – world wide about 30 million flights performed by scheduled airlines and charter airlines – since more than one year there are significantly declining tendencies. Now, there is an indication of a ceasing negative trend. However, there are opposite opinions, assuming that the impact of the world wide economic crisis is still to come for aviation, since for example many holiday trips have been booked at a time when people were still financially well.

Air Traffic Performance in Europe: Five percent below the performance of the preceding year.

In the reporting month September 2009, roundly 2.5 million flights have been performed. This corresponds to a zero growth as opposed to the still 5% decline in spring of this year. While traffic is regaining the last year level, there are also differences in the individual regions. Strongly affected by the crisis is Europe, where traffic performance currently still amounts to almost five percents below the one of the preceding year. But also here positive trends become obvious. The positive trend is also seen in Germany but to a smaller extent. Here, the negative trend of roundly minus seven percent is likely to continue until the end of 2009.

 DLR-Studie weist positive Zuwachsraten für deutsche Flughäfen aus
zum Bild The DLR study indicates positive growth rates for German airports.

In other regions, such as Near East, the positive growth trend of more than ten percent growth will continue, but to a smaller extent as in summer of this year. Also the growing market Asia, which meanwhile also dropped into the deficit area, was able to re-stabilise in summer 2009 and since then shows an over-proportional growth.

DLR scientists expect positive growth on German airports.

Positive trends are also revealed on several major airports. Thus, airports such as Los Angeles in North America, which featured high partly two-digit negative trends in spring, currently only show declines of less than four percent. Other airports such as Atlanta or San Francisco are even re-gaining the positive trend. However, in Europe airports such as Frankfurt, London, Paris or Amsterdam show declines of more than 5 percent. There is positive growth on Asian airports such as Peking and on a few European airports such as Istanbul. In Germany, there is positive growth on airports where Low Cost Carriers are operating.

There is a parallel development for airlines. Thus, in particular airlines operating in North America such as Delta Airlines – which showed a decline of more than 10 percent as opposed to the preceding year in spring 2009 - currently show a decline of less than four percent, while United Airlines is almost re-gaining the value of the preceding year. However, Air China - another example for a world-wide operating major airline – have been able to extend their service by roundly 13 percent. In Europe, mainly British Airways is still hampered by the crisis; in contrary Turkish Airlines and a few Low Cost Carriers have been able to increase their supply. Here, Ryanair have been able to extend their service by almost 28 percent as opposed to the preceding year in September 2009. Even when the flight service analysed is only reflecting nominal data, there is a strong correlation with the actual traffic.

Thus, for the next quarter, globally seen a similar exent of flight supply as for the last year is to be expected. There are also differences between the individual air transport markets. While the US-market is re-growing, the declines will still continue in Europe for a while. But also here there are first signs of a potential recovery. The world wide flight supply in total will amount to less than 2.5 million per month. This is partly due to the seasonal reasons and the coming winter season. Also in Germany, the declining tendency is still continuing. For the near future a decline of up to seven percent is expected.

Download Global Aviation Monitor 09/09 (0,23 MB)

Points of Contact
Hans-Leo Richter
Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt (DLR)


Tel.: +49 2203 601-2425

Fax: +49 2203 601-3249

Dr.phil. Peter Berster
Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt (DLR)

DLR Flughafenwesen und Luftverkehr

Tel.: +49 2203 601-4554

Fax: +49 2203 601-2377

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