Traffic figures for 2020
Here at Cologne/Bonn Airport, the year 2020 was shaped by contrasting developments in terms of traffic volumes. The coronavirus pandemic saw passenger numbers plummeting to levels never experienced before, yet the crisis also brought positive developments for air freight.
In the final analysis, the airport recorded passenger numbers of 3.1 million in the past year, which is equivalent to just a quarter of the figure for the previous year. Our second source of income, air freight, experienced an above-average rate of growth during the crisis year: by the end of December 2020, 863,000 tonnes of goods had been handled – six percent more than in the year before.
"2020 was a year of considerable challenges. We would therefore like to extend a special thank you to all our employees. After the unprecedented shock of 2020, we are very hopeful that we will be able to get back a little bit of the normality of pre-corona times during the course of the year, so that people will be able to start flying again," says Johan Vanneste, Chair of the Management Board of Flughafen Köln/Bonn GmbH. The airport is anticipating that passenger numbers will reach up to 50% of pre-crisis levels in 2021."
In 2020, the coronavirus had a devastating impact on passenger traffic. Many airlines were forced to suspend the greater part of their services during the pandemic or cut back their offering to just a few key routes. Although a high of more than 10,000 passengers per day was in the meantime once again achieved during the summer – almost thirty percent of the normal level – the figures went back down again in the subsequent months due to a new set of travel restrictions.
In December, an average of 2,500 passengers per day took off or landed in Cologne/Bonn – considered across the whole month, this amounted to a rise of eleven percent. The three largest markets for 2020 were Turkey, Spain and the domestic German market, with non-business travellers making up the largest part of the total.
Whilst passenger numbers are still far from having made a full recovery, freight transport continues to run at peak levels. The increase in tonnage during the coronavirus crisis was on average 13 percentage points above the average for the German market. The very small number of passenger flights in operation meant that there was also a shortage in terms of the associated capacity for freight in passenger aircraft. This led to an increase in demand in the market for freight-only aircraft, an area that dominates the business in Cologne/Bonn. As a result, we achieved a new high, handling 87,000 tonnes of air-freighted goods in December.
"During the coronavirus crisis, it has become particularly clear that Cologne/Bonn Airport plays a prominent role in the provision of supplies to people and companies in the region. Whether it's medical goods, replacement parts for industry or vaccines – Cologne/Bonn is the central logistics site for all kinds of products," Johan Vanneste explains. With the sustained increase in online trade, it is to be assumed that there will be positive developments in the freight business in the coming year too.