FRA Traffic Figures in First Quarter 2003: Slight Increase in Passenger Figures - Clear Growth in Airfreight Tonnage / Fraport Group Registered Growth in All Segments

Frankfurt, Germany (ots) - Despite the Iraq war, the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), and the weak global economy, Frankfurt Airport (FRA) recorded about 10.6 million passengers and slight 0.5 percent growth during the first quarter of 2003 versus the same quarter last year. Following the seven percent increase in passenger traffic in January 2003, consumers were visibly holding back on booking flights in February because of the Iraq crisis. March was negatively influenced by the effects of the Iraq war and the outbreak of the SARS illness in Southeast Asia.

However, the Fraport airport company is confident that, because of the current political events in the world, air traffic will only be temporarily diverted from its forecast long-term growth path. "A look at air traffic development during the last twenty years shows that short term, crisis-related declines are always followed by robust recovery phases," said Dr. Wilhelm Bender, Executive Board Chairman of Fraport AG. "With the ending of the Iraq conflict, I hope that air traffic will experience a similar development."

Fraport recorded strong growth in cargo traffic at Frankfurt Airport in the first quarter of 2003. Compared to the same period last year, FRA's airfreight volume increased 5.8 percent to 404,829 metric tons. Double-digit growth recorded on intercontinental routes to North and South America and to the Far East served as the growth engine for FRA's increase in cargo tonnage. Overall, intercontinental cargo grew 9.2 percent and accounted for 85.1 percent of the total cargo throughput at Frankfurt Airport.

From January to March 2003, aircraft movements (take-offs and landings) and maximum take-off weights (MTOWs) grew noticeably at FRA. Primarily international flights - in particular, connections to and from the Middle East, North America and the Arabian areas of the Mediterranean, which were strongly affected after September 11, 2001 - saw an increase in services. While aircraft movements grew 4.7 percent to 111,974 take-offs and landings in comparison to the same period last year, MTOWs climbed at an even faster rate of 7.6 percent to 6.1 million metric tons.

In the first three months of 2003, almost 14 million passengers used the Fraport Group's airports of Frankfurt (Germany), Hahn (Germany), Hanover (Germany), Saarbrücken (Germany), Antalya (Turkey) and Lima (Peru) - 2.3 percent more passengers than in the first quarter of 2002. Cargo tonnage for the Group increased 7.3 percent to 475,592 metric tons, the number of aircraft movements climbed 4.4 percent to 164,423.

Antalya Airport greeted 736,681 passengers, 1.4 percent less than in the same quarter last year. In March 2003 the expected war-related drop in demand came into play here. In contrast, Frankfurt-Hahn Airport, like other European airports with a high share of traffic from low-cost carriers, was barely affected by the current aviation crisis. Hahn achieved triple-digit growth in passenger traffic in the first quarter of 2003: 464,257 passengers or a 137.6 percent jump versus the first quarter of 2002. The addition of new destinations in Ryanair's flight schedule was the primary reason for this growth. As a result, Frankfurt-Hahn Airport again took a leading position among European airports in terms of growth dynamics.

(Traffic Table)

Fraport Group - Traffic Figures for the First Quarter of 2003

AirportsPassengers1 abs.Change in %Airfreight (metric tons) abs.Change in %Aircraft Movements abs.Change in %
Fraport Group13,822,9402.3475,5927.3164,4234.4

Source: ACI statistics

1 Passengers (commercial traffic: arrivals + departures + transit)

2 Lima Airport Partners statistics

3 Hahn cargo (incl. cargo transported by truck)

4 International passengers and movements