The German Airports Association (ADV) has published a report titled "Where is Germany flying to?", an analysis of German travelers’ demand from short-haul and long-haul trips.
ADV CEO Ralph Beisel summarized the results: "Air traffic makes a major contribution to the international networking of our country. Traveler demand is concentrated on destinations over 400 kilometers far. Our hubs are the gateways to the big world. And on short distances, we rely on the rail."
Many debates on air traffic are narrowed down to short-haul flights. This makes it all the more important to know which routes are actually in demand by German travelers and how air traffic, with the connectivity it offers, makes its indispensable contribution to both business and leisure travelers. In the report, the ADV airports association reveals the most popular destinations for Germans between 2011 and 2019. The analysis describes four market areas:
Domestic German air traffic development, short-haul connections up to 1,500 km, European traffic, intercontinental air traffic connections.
5.7 % Decline in Domestic German Air Traffic
Munich, Berlin, Hamburg, Frankfurt and Düsseldorf are the top 5 destinations in Germany. 3 out of 4 domestic German passengers fly to one of these top 5 destinations. Overall, domestic German air traffic is by far the smallest segment in the overall system. Improved intermodal services and close cooperation between rail and air transport are promoting this modal transfer.
Two-thirds of Passengers Fly up to 1,500 km
Majorca, London, Vienna, Zurich and Amsterdam are the top 5 connections from a German airport. Contrary to popular belief, demand for short flight connections is falling. On routes between 400 and 1,500 kilometers, the number of travelers rose by +23.3 percent. At the same time, the number of passengers traveling less than 400 kilometers fell by -3.7 percent. In 2011, 128.8 million passengers took off or landed on board at German airports with destinations of less than 1,500 kilometers. In 2019, the figure was 153.1 million passengers.
Europe Is the Top Destination
Demand for European destinations is the largest market segment for German travelers, accounting for nearly two-thirds (63.7 percent) of passenger traffic. Between 2011 and 2019, the demand for European destinations increased by +36.2 percent. European air travel is the basis of German economic and socio-cultural connectivity. EU expansion, ethnic traffic to Eastern and Southern Europe, labor migration, and continued high tourist demand are the main drivers of strong traveler demand for European traffic.
Rising Demand for Intercontinental Air Services
Long-haul routes mostly lead to global economic centers and long-haul tourist destinations. Among the top 10 intercontinental destinations are Hurghada and Tel Aviv, alongside the Asian metropolises of Dubai, Singapore and Beijing, as well as the North American cities of New York, Toronto and Chicago. Between 2011 and 2019, passenger traffic to intercontinental destinations at German airports grew by +26.5 percent - or more than 9.2 million passengers.
"The connectivity that comes from airports secures prosperity in the regions and is a prerequisite for a networked economy, while at the same time taking responsibility for climate protection. Air traffic does not yet function in a climate-neutral way, but the industry is working on it - despite the massive economic cuts caused by the Corona pandemic - and has set out its goals in the "Climate Protection Master Plan," Ralph Beisel concludes.