In November, air traffic volumes in Germany declined for the first time since March 2021. A total of 174,673 flights took off, landed or crossed German airspace.
The growth in traffic seen during the summer and autumn months did not continue in November. In the busy month of October, there were still 208,414 flights in German airspace. In November, air traffic volumes fell by more than 33,000 flights, causing a distinct dip in the growth line when viewed over the year.
No boost from resumption of flights to the United States
It must be pointed out that there is typically a decline in traffic volumes in autumn. However, airports, airlines and DFS, the German air navigation service provider, had hoped for more stable traffic volumes as flights to the United States resumed at the beginning of November.
Cargo airports still less affected by the pandemic
In contrast to the other German airports, the cargo airports of Leipzig and Cologne Bonn have been experiencing less severe declines during the COVID-19 pandemic. This trend continued. In October, Leipzig Airport had already regained its 2019 traffic volumes, and in November, it even exceeded them. There were 6,667 take-offs and landings, up 11.1 percent from November 2019 (6,002). Cologne Bonn Airport, which was still around 24 percent below 2019 figures in October, was only around 16 percent below 2019 volumes (10,476) with 8,794 flights in November 2021.
2020 volumes already exceeded
DFS logged around 1.497 million flights in German airspace between the beginning of January and the end of November. One month before the end of the year, this is already more than in the entire previous year. In 2020, only 1.463 million flights were counted. Despite the increase, however, traffic volumes are still low compared to pre-pandemic levels. In 2019, 3.337 million flights were logged in German airspace.
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DFS Deutsche Flugsicherung GmbH, the German air navigation service provider, is a State-owned company under private law with 5,600 employees as at 30 June 2021. DFS ensures the safe and punctual flow of air traffic over Germany. Around 2,200 air traffic controllers guide more than three million flights through German airspace in peak years, up to 10,000 every day. The company operates control centres in Bremen, Karlsruhe, Langen and Munich as well as control towers at the 15 designated international airports in Germany. The subsidiary DFS Aviation Services GmbH markets and sells products and services related to air navigation services, and provides air traffic control at nine regional airports in Germany and at London Gatwick Airport and Edinburgh Airport in the UK. DFS is working on the integration of drones into air traffic and has set up a joint venture, Droniq GmbH, with Deutsche Telekom. Other subsidiaries include R. Eisenschmidt GmbH, which markets publications and products for general aviation, and Kaufbeuren ATM Training GmbH (KAT), which provides training for military air traffic services personnel. The joint venture FCS Flight Calibration Services GmbH offers flight inspection services.