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Air transport industry in Germany - statistics & facts

Early industrialization and the culmination of scholarly activities from the 19th century across Germany acted as an impetus driving ground-breaking innovations, such as aircraft and aerospace designs. Alongside other industrialized nations, engineers and scientists in Germany contributed to the emergence and advancement of a completely new field of industry, namely aviation. For instance, Heinkel He 178 was the world’s first jet aircraft, developed in Germany. Consequently, Germany encompasses a rich economic history of the air transportation industry with some of its unique contributions and firm dynamics. Throughout the 20th century, the German aerospace industry continued to expand, which was accelerated around the end of the century. Since the 1990s, the German aerospace market almost quadrupled in size, generating over 40 billion euros in revenue by 2019. Yet, the firm-level analysis of the German aviation economy reveals that the number of aviation companies with operating licenses in Germany declined rapidly since 2010, down from 170 companies in 2010 to 110 in 2019.

Performance of German aviation

Sustaining a positive economic performance in a highly competitive industry like aviation is a convoluted journey for most of the companies operating in the global aviation economy. Despite a multidimensional competitive force by the global aviation groups, German aviation companies could circumvent most of the hurdles from competitors. With leading global logistics and transportation companies, such as DHL, DB Schenker, Lufthansa Cargo, Germany imposes a strong position in the air cargo market as well. Between 2006 and 2019, the total volume of air cargo in Germany increased by roughly 44 percent, reaching over 4.7 million tons of air cargo transported. Based on revenue, Lufthansa Group generated the highest level of revenue during 2019 in Europe. When we zoom in geographically, Lufthansa, Eurowings, and Ryanair were the leading airlines in Germany as of September 2020. As a large multinational German corporation, Lufthansa AG owns many airlines in Europe. Lufthansa, SWISS, Austrian Airlines, Brussels Airlines, and Eurowings are the subsidiaries of the Lufthansa AG.

Airport infrastructure in Germany

A well-advanced infrastructure conducive to the operations of firms in the aviation industry is a necessary pre-condition. With a long-standing airport organization and management culture, Germany has a multitude of airports across the country offering differentiated airport services, from tailor-made solutions in air cargo transport to innovative connection network. For example, Hamburg Airport is the world’s oldest international airport that is still operating. Some of the main passenger airports in the country include Frankfurt am Main, Munich, and Dusseldorf. Usually, the facilities of an airport allow it to specialize either as a passenger airport or cargo airport. Accordingly, a similar pattern is observable in the German aerospace infrastructure. Frankfurt am Main, Leipzig/Halle, Cologne/Bonn are the leading cargo airports in the country. Over the recent five years, all three of these airports experienced a somewhat steady increase in the volume of cargo. Compared to other German airports, Frankfurt am Main has distinctive characteristics in terms of the strategic location, connectivity infrastructure, and proximity to many other European countries. These differences create a favorable environment for the Frankfurt am Main Airport to become leading both in air passenger and cargo transportation.

Interesting statistics

In the following 4 chapters, you will quickly find the 27 most important statistics relating to "Air transport industry in Germany".

Statistics on the topic


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