DLR’s Aviation Report provides information on the latest developments in the German, European and global air traffic. It is published annually since 2004.
On the basis of comprehensive data material from official statistics, surveys and aviation industry, available to the Institute of Air Transport and Airport Research, basic indicators on the structure and developments in the air transport sector are being gathered and processed. Although the focus here is on the air traffic of Germany, due to its international integration, the European and global air traffic with its volumes and changes is described, too. Also this year, the Report follows the already established structure. First, traffic flows in the domestic and cross-border air transport are described, followed by the presentation of developments of airlines and air traffic at German airports and aviation developments in Europe and worldwide. In two articles, the reader is informed on the one hand about business aviation at airports and airfields in Germany and, on the other, about the volume and structure of air freight in Germany. Finally, in a feature article the DLR air freight model is described by which an operational and expandable model tool is being developed for the analysis and forecasts of German and global air cargo events. Thus, beyond the original task of the air traffic report - commenting traffic developments consistently based on air traffic data -, the article reports on a methodical approach, which should also serve to describe the most complete picture of air cargo flows, so far incomplete owing to lack of structured air cargo data.
In the following Table the most important indicators of air traffic in Germany, Europe and the world in 2011 are summarized. (In order to achieve comparability between the data of Germany, Europe and the world, the values differ partly from the values shown in the relevant chapter of the report.) After the 2009 crisis, in which the number of passengers in Germany declined by 4.6%, air traffic has recovered in subsequent years. In 2011, the air traffic reached a volume of 103 million (emplaned) passengers at German airports. As a consequence, the air traffic in the two years (in 2009: 92 million passengers) rose by 11 million passengers or by 12%. In the same period, passenger traffic in Europe has increased by 9.5% to 822 million passengers carried and the global air traffic by 14.8% to 2,738 million passengers.
Air freight has recovered far more dynamically since 2009 than passenger traffic. In the crisis year of 2009, the freight segment has decreased faster than the passenger segment. However, the growth momentum in the year 2010/11 has waned considerably. As a result, the world's cargo volume has increased in the same year by only 1.4%, however in Germany by 8.0%. In contrast, the flight volume has remained fairly stable. The number of flights in and to and from Germany fell by 0.6% to 1,743 thousand flights. In the network of about 2,500 airports worldwide, over 30 million flights were carried out by airlines, 7.6 million thereof were flights dealing with and within Europe.
Air passenger traffic as measured in pass-kms is an important parameter of transport performance, especially in the global aviation, showing the consumption of transport services offered by airlines more directly than the passenger volume figure. On average, about 2.7 billion passengers flew nearly 1,850 km each way in 2011 and have thus provided a global transport volume of 5,062 billion pass-km, 6.5% more than the year before.
The world’s largest airlines are located in the United States. While in 2009 Southwest Airlines with over 100 million passengers was the largest airline, after the merger with Northwest in 2010 Delta Air Lines became the largest carrier. In 2011, Delta Air Lines carried 164 million passengers, followed by Southwest Airlines with 135 million and American Airlines with 86 million passengers. In the fourth place follows already the largest European low-cost carrier Ryanair with 76 million passengers. Ryanair is now the largest airline in Europe, closely followed by the airline alliance of Air France and KLM with 75 million passengers and Lufthansa with 65 million passengers. In Germany, the largest airline Lufthansa remains unchallenged. Comparing the airlines by flights offered there is a similar picture, however here Air France-KLM is the largest one with 748 thousand flights in Europe.
Like airlines, the largest airports are located in the United States. Among the ten largest airports in the world there are four U.S. airports, namely Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles and Dallas / Fort Worth. Atlanta has been the largest airport for years, with over 90 million passengers (in-and-outs) in 2011. Atlanta is both home and hub airport of Delta Air Lines, the world's largest carrier. The second largest airport, however, is not a U.S. airport, but Beijing with nearly 79 million passengers, followed by the largest European airport London Heathrow. With 924 thousand take-offs and landings, Atlanta is the airport with the highest flight volume, followed by Chicago and Los Angeles. As already stated, London Heathrow is the busiest airport in Europe with 69 million passengers and Paris Charles de Gaulle with 514 thousand flights the airport with the highest flight volume. In Germany, Frankfurt has long been the busiest airport, both in terms of passengers (56.4 million) and flights (487 thousand).
In essence, in contrast to ground transportation, air transport has a clear international dimension in most countries both, regarding passenger as well as cargo operations. The major exception is the United States where domestic aviation accounts for more than 90% of air traffic. With regard to Germany, three quarters of all passengers are flying in cross-border traffic. Worldwide, the proportion of air traffic (pass-kms) carried out on international routes counts for more than 60%. By far the largest flow of air traffic between world regions is found on the North Atlantic route between the U.S. and Europe. Here in 2011, nearly 65 million passengers used the plane. The flow between Europe and the Far East, with over 40 million passengers, is the second largest flow, followed by the flow between the Middle and the Far East with 35.9 million, and between the United States and Central America with 33.2 million, and between Europe and Africa with nearly 30 million passengers. The strongest air traffic flow in Europe is marked with holiday traffic between the UK and Spain with 31.5 million passengers. It is followed by that between Germany and Spain with 22 million passengers, which is thus also the strongest international air traffic flow of Germany.
Due to its low prices, the low-cost traffic in Germany and Europe caused a dynamic growth of this segment in the last 10 years. In addition, the low-cost traffic has increased competition between established network carriers and low-cost carriers, so that the business models of airlines are approaching each other. After years of strong growth since 2008 a tendency of saturation of the low-cost traffic has been observed, at least the growth rates have moved closer to those of the classical regular services and the network expansion has slowed down significantly. While in the years 2002 to 2007, about 100 new routes per year were added in the low-cost market in Germany to grow to a network of 550 routes, this growth has been reduced to about 50 new routes annually since 2008, and is even negative since 2010. With approximately 650 routes spanning the network of low-cost carriers in Germany, the further network expansion seems to be at a standstill. More routes are likely to be added only after the planned conversion of flights performed within Lufthansa’s own European routes network into low-cost flights of Germanwings. One of the causes for the decline in low-cost transport in Germany in 2011 is the introduction of the aviation tax introduced by the German Government at the beginning of the year. It seems that the disproportionate growth of lowcost traffic has come to an end in 2010 and is replaced by a normal growth that characterizes the regular service for years.
Aviation Report Summary