Air traffic control: Air traffic over Germany is only slowly recovering

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Air traffic over Germany only slowly recovered from the Corona low point in the past year 2021. Deutsche Flugsicherung (DFS) and other institutions controlled 1.67 million take-offs, landings and overflights, only 14.3 percent more movements than in 2020, as the federally owned company reported on Monday in Langen near Frankfurt. A traffic density was achieved that was just above that in 1991 and roughly half of the level observed before Corona.

In 2020 there was 1.46 million flight movements, the lowest figure since German reunification, although a full flight plan was flown for a few weeks before the corona shock in March of that year.

Civil cargo and passenger jets as well as military planes fly according to the instrument rules. They are monitored and guided by pilots in higher-level centers and in the towers of the airports. For air traffic control, the falling number of controlled flights also means significantly lower fee income, without the costs for personnel and infrastructure being able to be reduced to the same extent.

Air traffic also suffered from the pandemic-related travel restrictions in 2021. In the summer in particular, European traffic had recovered, while many intercontinental destinations could still not be reached or only to a very limited extent. Domestic air traffic also fell sharply due to a lack of demand. The fastest recovery was at the Frankfurt and Leipzig-Halle airports, which are also the two largest hubs for air freight, which is still very much in demand in Germany. At smaller airports such as Dresden, Bremen, Erfurt or Münster, flight movements fell below the figures from 2020.

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