Sky’s the Limit

Frankfurt Airport chairman outlines way forward for air traffic sector

Dr. Stefan Schulte, executive board chairman of Fraport AG, which runs Frankfurt Airport, one of the largest in Europe, will be at the ITB Berlin Convention to discuss the future of air traffic in Germany and beyond. He tells ITB Berlin News about his presentation, “Struggle for Slots, Competition of the Hubs”, and the challenges facing the global air traffic sector.

The globally interdependent air traffic industry is facing challenging geopolitical a n d e c o n o m i c circumstances. There is the potential threat of terror activity and pol itical crisis that negatively influence booking patterns and numbers. Nevertheless, according to all major forecasts, global air traffic will continue to grow, especially in Asia, Latin America and Africa, enhancing competition between the major hubs in the Middle East and Europe. In Europe the low-cost market has gradually developed from small airports to mediumsized airports and has now made inroads into the large aviation hubs. This development will increase competition in the European air traffic sector significantly, leading to stronger consolidation in the airline sector, Airberlin being the latest example.

How is the German air traffic industry faring?

Growth rates of airlines in Germany are far behind their competitors from Europe and the Asia/ Pacific region. National regulations, such as the German aviation tax, reduce competiveness and therefore should be abolished. But a first important step has been accomplished: costs which are not directly related to Air Traffic Control (ATC) will no longer be billed to the air traffic industry, but financed through governmental budgets – as is the case in the rest of Europe. We strongly support the development of the Single European Sky which aims to streamline air traffic management i n E u r o p e, t h u s improving efficiency and delivering environmental benefits. Of course the harmonization of the European sky will also reduce costs for the entire industry. Therefore customers will certainly benefit from this development by experiencing a decrease in delays at congested airports