BER has wasted the travel boom. Thanks to a nine-year delay, the Berlin Brandenburg airport will open on October 30, 2020 in the midst of the greatest crisis in international passenger air traffic. Critics had criticized that BER will be too small at the start. In the Corona crisis, on the other hand, the question arises: When will the capacities of over 40 million passengers even be exhausted?
BER wants to grow despite Corona
The airport operators are currently preparing for many more passengers. The strong increase in passenger numbers by the end of 2019 resulted in a forecast of around 55 million passengers by 2040 for BER. A master plan is to make the airport fit for this volume. Shortly before the opening of the BER, these plans were apparently up-to-date, at least they were prominently placed on the BER website. By the way: The freight facility at BER started operations in 2013. The Cargo Center has a capacity of around 100,000 tonnes of additional cargo.
Airports that were too small in 2019 may even have an advantage at the moment. The airport operator industry association Airports Council International (ACI) had reported a passenger increase of 1.7 percent at the 20 largest airports in the world. In the first quarter of 2020, passenger numbers then plummeted when passenger traffic virtually came to a standstill for a long time.
Airports are fighting for survival
The ACI expected a decline of over 4.6 billion passengers and a decline in sales of more than 97 billion US dollars in May 2020. “The industry is now struggling to survive after the sustained growth in passenger traffic in 2019,” said ACI boss Angela Gittens. The corona crisis hits the ten largest passenger airports particularly hard. That’s how badly their business has collapsed.
# 10 Dallas
Dallas / Fort Worth International Airport was in the ACI ranking of airports with the highest passenger volume in 2018 in 15th place. In 2019, it moved up to tenth place. This was achieved thanks to an increase of 8.6 percent to 75.1 million passengers. Hong Kong, on the other hand, left the top 10 thanks to a drop of 4.2 percent. American Airlines’ aviation hub in Dallas / Fort Worth was in a comparatively good position at the beginning of the Corona crisis. According to ACI, passenger numbers fell by 12.3 percent in the first quarter compared to the same period last year. That was the second lowest value in the top 20. These numbers determine how much the country was affected by the pandemic by the end of March and how much the airport is used by international passengers.
@imago images / Design Pics
# 9 Paris
Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport moved up one place to ninth place. According to the annual report, around 76.2 million passengers were counted, 5.4 percent more than in the previous year. In the first Corona quarter, the passenger volume fell by 20.6 percent.
@imago images / Imagebroker
# 8 Shanghai
Shanghai Pudong International Airport also climbed one place in the 2019 ranking. However, growth slowed from 5.7 to 2.9 percent. A total of 76.153 million passengers were counted at the home airport of China Eastern Airlines and Shanghai Airlines. With that, Shanghai was wafer-thin ahead of Paris (76.150 million). China was the first country to be hit by the corona epidemic. The slump was correspondingly severe. It was 57.1 percent in Shanghai in the first quarter.
@imago images / Blickwinkel
# 7 London
London Heathrow remained the world’s seventh largest passenger airport in 2019. The volume was 80.9 million passengers (plus 1.0 percent) – about twice as many as at BER. From January to March 2020, the minus at Heathrow added up to 18.3 percent, according to the ACI.
@imago images / Hans Lucas
# 6 Chicago
The O’Hare International Airport in Chicago held sixth place in the ACI ranking of the largest passenger airports in the world. The number of passengers rose by 1.7 percent to 84.6 million. The 17.3 percent drop in the first quarter of 2020 was the lowest drop in the top 10.
@imago images / AFLO
# 5 Tokyo
Contrary to the trend, three of the ten largest airports in the world handled fewer passengers in 2019 than in the previous year. This includes Tokyo International Airport (Haneda). The number of passengers fell by 1.7 percent to 85.5 million. Despite this, Haneda was able to hold fifth place. The minus in the first quarter of 2020 was 28.6 percent.
@imago images / Arabian Eye
# 4 Dubai
Dubai International Airport is the only airport in the top 10 that has fallen in the ranking. He slipped from third to fourth place. The reason was the decline of 3.1 percent to 86.4 million passengers. That was the second biggest minus in the top 20 behind Hong Kong. In the first quarter of 2020, traffic fell by 19.9 percent.
@imago images / CHROMORANGE
# 3 Los Angeles
Los Angeles International Airport benefited from Dubai’s weakness. LAX rose from fourth to third place. The number of passengers increased only slightly by 0.6 percent to 88.1 million. The minus in the first quarter of 2020 was 21.7 percent.
@imago images / Imaginechina-Tuchong
# 4 Beijing
At none of the 20 largest passenger airports in the world was the slump at the beginning of the corona pandemic as great as in the Chinese capital. The volume at Beijing Personal-Financial.com International Airport fell by 62.6 percent, according to ACI. 9.3 million passengers in the first quarter of 2020 were only enough for 17th place in the top 20. In 2019, the airport defended its second place, but only barely reached the three-digit million range in passenger numbers. Their volume decreased by 1.0 percent to 100.0 million.
@imago images / Aviation-Stock
# 1 Atlanta
In 2019, Hartsfield – Jackson Atlanta International Airport remained the largest passenger airport in the world and has expanded its lead. The number of passengers rose by 2.9 percent to 110.5 million. That was the largest increase in the top 7. Atlanta, like the other US airports, recorded a minus of 20 percent (18.2 percent) in the first quarter of 2020. That was enough for first place from January to March. The number of passengers in the first quarter was 20.7 million. It was followed by Dubai (17.8 million) and Los Angeles (15.8 million). Even with the 2040 target of 55 million passengers in 2019, BER would not have made it into the top 20. In the first quarter of 2020, however, the capacity of almost 14 million passengers would theoretically have meant eighth place, ahead of Paris.
@imago images / CHROMORANGE
# 15 Frankfurt
In 2019, Frankfurt am Main came in 15th place with 70.5 million passengers, one place lower than in 2018. The airport recorded exactly a quarter fewer passengers in the first quarter than in the same period of the previous year. New Delhi had the smallest minus at the beginning of 2020 with seven percent.