Frankfurt Airport: 2002 Traffic Figures Clearly Exceed Forecasts / Upward Trend Accelerated in December - Double-digit Increase Over Christmas - Excellent Starting Position for 2003
Frankfurt (ots) - Frankfurt Airport's (FRA) 2002 traffic growth in all segments clearly exceeded annual forecasts by aviation industry experts. For example, in mid-2002 Fraport AG still expected about a three-percent decline in passenger traffic for the year. With 48.5 million passengers in 2002, FRA's actual results indicate only a slight 0.2 percent decline over 2001.
Fraport AG's executive board chairman, Dr. Wilhelm Bender, emphasized that the figures show "just how well our company has been able to cope in difficult times and to handle a crisis-prone environment. If someone had said a year ago that Frankfurt Airport would reach the same passenger level in 2002 as in 2001, we would have considered this wishful thinking. Following the 9/11 events and the ensuing strong traffic decline, FRA's passenger figures in 2002 even clearly exceeded optimistic expectations." December also contributed significantly to the unexpected positive traffic results for the year 2002. Growing to 3.4 million in December 2002, passenger traffic saw a strong eight-percent increase over the comparable month of 2001. During the last two weeks of 2002, some 11.1 percent more passengers used Frankfurt Airport than in the same period of the previous year.
In terms of passenger volume, Fraport AG performed much better in 2002 than many airlines on a worldwide level. This proves that Frankfurt Airport is benefiting from the airlines' policy to concentrate traffic at the so-called hub airports in difficult times. Thus, FRA showed noticeably higher traffic growth than other German airports.
With over 1.5 million metric tons handled, airfreight activity at Europe's most important cargo airport was up by 1.4 percent in 2002. This positive figure is also noteworthy in view of the weak global economy. In December, cargo throughput at FRA grew 2.2 percent to about 126,300 metric tons over the same month in 2001. The major growth factors were strong increases in cargo tonnage carried on Far East and Atlantic routes. With 141,000 metric tons handled in 2002 - a slight 0.1 percent decrease - FRA's airmail tonnage was almost back to the previous year's level. The total number of aircraft movements last year increased by 0.4 percent to 458,359 take-offs and landings. These figures also demonstrate that expansion of Frankfurt Airport is indispensable. Maximum Take-off Weights (MTOWs) dropped 2.5 percent to about 24.9 million metric tons. Since November 2002, the negative gap between aircraft movements and corresponding MTOWs has gradually been narrowing. This positive trend continued in December, when Fraport AG registered about 36,000 aircraft movements at FRA, 6.5 percent more than in the same month of 2001. MTOWs grew even stronger during this period, up 6.4 percent to about two million metric tons. Whether the airlines will again deploy larger aircraft over the long term depends on market demand in the coming months.
In percentage terms, passenger traffic at Frankfurt-Hahn Airport showed even stronger growth. In 2002, about 1.5 million passengers used this airport in the Hunsrück region west of FRA. This represented a 226 percent or more than threefold increase over the previous year's figure. This impressive traffic development is particularly due to overproportional growth rates in the so-called low-cost passenger segment. Fraport AG owns 73.07 percent of Frankfurt-Hahn Airport. Fraport will issue traffic figures for all airports of the Group on January 31.
"I am extremely confident that 2003 will be a successful year for Fraport, despite all the difficulties," said Bender. "The noticeable growth during the last few months and the positive traffic results for all of 2002 prove that Fraport - the airport manager - has been able to deal with the post-9/11 aviation crisis markedly better than other companies and competitors in the industry. At Frankfurt, we have created an excellent starting position for the months ahead."
Fraport's executive board chairman also said that the aviation industry in general was increasingly confident that air travel would gradually return to the steady growth of previous years. Of course, this expectation was based on the hope that no new terrorist attacks would occur, that military conflicts would be avoided, and that the world economy would develop ongoing improvement and stability.
Frankfurt Airport's Traffic Figures
for 2002 and December 2002
Jan. - Dec. Change 2 December Change 2
2002 2002/2001 2002 Dec. 02/
Passengers 48.5 -0.2 % 3.4 8.0 %
Airfreight 1,514.8 1.4 % 126.3 2.2 %
Airmail 141.0 -0.1 % 13.7 0.0 %
Aircraft 458.4 0.4 % 35.9 6.5 %
MTOWs 24,926.9 -2.5 % 1,998.6 6.4 %
of metric tons
Punctuality 77.9 70.5
share of punctual