Current situation of global air traffic

Global Aviation Monitor (GAM) of the German Aerospace Center (DLR) shows decline in air traffic/photo:


After many years of growth in global air traffic with increasing flights, passengers and flight connections, a slowdown in development is currently becoming apparent. Global passenger flight movements increased by only 1.5 percent in June, from 3.3 million in June 2018 to just under 3.4 million in June of this year.

This is shown by the current Global Aviation Monitor (GAM) of the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt, DLR), which covers 3500 airports and 850 airlines worldwide. For Germany, the study even shows a decline in air traffic of 1.7 percent.

Top 3 of the aviation market: Asia, North America, Europe

With more than one million departures per month, Asia has been the world’s largest market in global air traffic for several years. Around 30 percent of all flights are handled here. After years of strong growth, however, the number of flight movements in the emerging continent is only growing by two to three percent compared with the previous year. “The slowdown in growth momentum in Asia is having a particularly strong impact on the global slowdown in the number of flights and flight connections,” explains Dr Peter Berster, head of the study at the DLR Institute for Airport and Air Transport in Cologne. “The increasing economic uncertainties are playing a major role here”.

North America ranks second with an overall share of 27 percent of global air traffic. For some time now, only low growth rates of between two and three percent have been observed there. With 832 thousand take-offs per month and a share of 24.7 percent, Europe ranks third worldwide. In the last two years, the European market has slipped from an initial growth rate of five percent to just 1.2 percent. “In Germany, the decline in 2017 due to the Air Berlin bankruptcy was followed by high growth rates in 2018,” explains Berster. “This enabled the gap to be filled again.” At 87.9 thousand departures per month, the current figures are now around 1.7 percent below the 89.4 thousand monthly departures of June 2018.

For the third quarter of 2019, the DLR study forecasts further restrained growth in flight movements of between one and two percent at European and global level. In Germany, the scientists expect further stagnation.

Significantly more flights in Düsseldorf and Stuttgart

In June 2019, Düsseldorf and Stuttgart airports handled between two and four percent more flights than in the previous year. This increase was mainly due to the strong expansion of the services offered by Eurowings and Easyjet in Düsseldorf and Laudamotion and Easyjet in Stuttgart. Cologne-Bonn Airport is also benefiting from the offensive launched by the British low-cost carrier Easyjet, but has also suffered declines, for example at Flybe.

On the other hand, a negative trend could be observed at some smaller airports such as Weeze or Frankfurt-Hahn. The withdrawal of Ryanair from the smaller locations is leading to shrinking flight movements. “We notice that some low-cost carriers are increasingly concentrating on larger locations and withdrawing more and more from the smaller airports,” says Berster.

Largest airlines come from the United States

In terms of the number of aircraft movements, American Airlines is the largest airline in the world with more than 200 thousand departures in June 2019, followed by Delta Air Lines and United Airlines, all of which have grown strongly in the past due to acquisitions of other airlines. The low-cost carriers Southwest Airlines, Ryanair and Easyjet follow in fourth, fifth and eighth place respectively. In between, the major Asian airlines China Eastern and China Southern are ranked sixth and seventh respectively. With IndiGo, Jetblue and Azul, other low-cost carriers from different continents are among the 25 largest airlines in the world. jwm

The Global Aviation Monitor (GAM) is published on a quarterly basis by the DLR Institute for Air Transport and Airport Management. The report records the current situation of global, European and German air traffic and provides a short-term forecast for the next three months. In this way, players in the air traffic market are shown changes in global air traffic at an early stage.

Source: DLR

A link to the study as PDF can be found here:

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