Air traffic in Germany drops to 1980s level

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BERLIN, Jan. 7 (Xinhua) -- Only around 1.46 million take-offs, landings and overflights were recorded in German airspace last year, a decline of 56.2 percent year-on-year, the Deutsche Flugsicherung (DFS), the company in charge of air traffic control in Germany, said on Thursday.

The volume of air traffic in Germany in 2020 had thus fallen to the level recorded in 1989, according to the DFS. Over the past 30 years, air traffic has increased almost continuously with a few interruptions after the terrorist attack in the United States in 2001 and the financial crisis in 2008.

"Passenger traffic has been particularly hard hit in 2020 due to the increasing numbers of coronavirus cases now being recorded in many countries and the travel restrictions once again being imposed as a result of this," said Dirk Mahns, chief operating officer at DFS, in a statement.

The two major hubs in Germany -- Frankfurt and Munich -- recorded the biggest losses in absolute terms, according to the DFS. Meanwhile, air freight has recorded slight declines only. At Leipzig Halle Airport, for example, the number of take-offs and landings was only around 18 percent lower year-on-year.

The DFS does not expect air traffic to recover quickly. "It will likely be 2025 before we see a return to pre-pandemic levels," said Mahns. Until then, the DFS would collect around two billion euros (2.45 billion U.S. dollars) less in charges for its services than initially budgeted, but would not be able to proportionately reduce its costs, he said. Enditem

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