Germany’s major hub airport Frankfurt nearly doubled year-on-year traffic in 2022 to 48.9 million passengers but remained more than 30 per cent below 2019’s record level of 70.6 million.
Frankfurt’s operator Fraport said that the airport’s recovery last year had been helped by business travel recovering “steadily” towards the end of the year.
Fraport’s CEO Stefan Schulte said: “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.
“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.”
The German airport’s performance in 2022 was similar to other major European hubs, such as London Heathrow and Amsterdam Schiphol which were 24 per cent and 27 per cent respectively behind their 2019 passenger numbers. All three airports had to impose passenger caps during summer 2022 due to staffing shortages.
Fraport’s other operations around the world reported “dynamic growth” during 2022, particularly in Greece where traffic at its 14 airports surpassed pre-Covid levels for the first time since the start of the pandemic.
Elsewhere, London’s second largest airport Gatwick recorded annual traffic of 32.8 million passengers in 2022, which was an increase from just 6.3 million travellers in 2021 but was still 29 per cent down compared with 2019.
The airport, which is part of VINCI Airports, emphasised its rebound in long-haul routes with 42 destinations now being served, including new Air India flights and Delta’s return to Gatwick.
Jonathan Pollard, Gatwick’s chief commercial officer, said its 2022 traffic was “extremely positive” and illustrated the airport’s “continued strong recovery”.
“We still have some way to go but we’re looking forward to welcoming even more passengers this year, including those flying to our growing choice of long-haul destinations,” added Pollard.
London’s third largest airport Stansted catered for 23.3 million passengers in 2022 - up from just 7.1 million travellers during the previous Covid-affected year. As a comparison, the airport had traffic of 28 million passengers in 2019.
Gareth Powell, Stansted’s managing director, said: “Stansted’s rapid recovery during 2022 was great news for everyone connected with the airport, but my focus is now on maintaining and building upon that success as well look ahead to what we expect to be an even busier 12 months ahead of us.”
Stansted has also been boosted by Emirates’ decision to resume a second daily service to Dubai from 1 May.