LONDON – German transport company and Frankfurt Airport (FRA) operator Fraport, has issued its traffic figures for last year. Passenger numbers wise, in comparison to 2021, the airport saw an increase of 97.2%, welcoming 48.9 million travellers through the terminals.
This number could have been higher as the first two months of 2022 were shrouded in uncertainty around the Omicron Covid variant.
April was the peak growth period, seeing a 300 percent rise in traffic figures compared to the previous year. The rise continued throughout the middle quarters and into the end of the year, as the demand for business travel started to be restored.
Aircraft takeoffs and landings for the year grew by nearly 46 percent up to 382,211, but still 25 percent down on the last comparable time pre-pandemic in 2019.
December 2022 proved fruitful, with 4 million passengers travelling through the airport, and aircraft movements climbing by 7.9 percent.
“2022 was a very turbulent and challenging year for the entire aviation industry. Following the lockdowns at the start of the year, the sudden and sharp increase in demand put a heavy strain on all process partners ramping up operations.”
“Due to the complexity of the system, air traffic operations had a shaky restart at many airports – including in Frankfurt.”
“On the positive side, our worldwide Group airports focusing on tourism traffic showed a highly encouraging performance in 2022,” said Fraport AG’s CEO, Dr. Stefan Schulte.
Cargo travel stalls
However one area that saw decline was cargo volumes, seeing a decrease in tonnage carried by 13.3 percent. One thing to note on this figure would be that during the heights of the pandemic, cargo travel saw an exponential increase, whereas passenger travel almost stopped completely.
Also contributing to this reduction in cargo tonnage was the outbreak of the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the resulting airspace restrictions.
According to data just released by the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the global air cargo sector has almost returned to pre-pandemic levels.
The newly released data for global air freight markets shows that 2022 full-year demand for air cargo took a significant step back from 2021 levels, but was nevertheless close to 2019 performance.
Fraport’s other endeavours
Frankfurt is not the only airport Fraport undertakes operations at. Back in 2015 they signed a deal to lease and manage operations at 14 Greek airports alongside Greek energy provider Copelouzos.
Further to these Greek operations, it has stakes in 14 other airports’ operations across the continents of North and South America, Europe and Asia.
The Greek regional airports saw increased passenger figures across the board, boasting both an increase on the previous year, but also a 3.5% rise in footfall compared to 2019, meaning that passenger figures were larger in 2022, than in the most recent measurable covid free year.
Commenting on the Greek growth Schulte said: “The airports in Greece even exceeded pre-crisis levels, for the first time since the outbreak of the pandemic. Looking ahead, we are confident to see further growth in 2023.”
“People are eager to travel, and we are working full speed to ensure that passengers have the best possible airport experience. Nevertheless, the situation remains challenging.”
Fortaleza and Porto Alegre in Brazil jointly saw a 41% increase in passengers on the year. Numbers stalled in December when the 1.1 million people who used the airports translated into a 2.5% drop compared to December 2021.
Along with Lima in Peru, which enjoyed a 72% rise in traffic, translating into 18.6 million people through the gates.
Ljubljana in Slovenia, Burgas and Varna (combined) in Bulgaria and Turkey’s Antalya airport respectively saw 100%, 59.2% and 41.8% increases in their yearly traffic.
With the pandemic behind us, Fraport and its operations can hopefully ‘have at’ a full years uninterrupted operations that, along with peoples pent up appetite for travel after years of being unable to, should prove to make 2023 another positive year.