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Tue 20.01.09 11:02

DUS 2008: Over 18.1 million passengers

Source: Düsseldorf Airport 16.01.2009 http://www.dus-int.de/dus_en/medieninfo_...=36&search=

Over 18.1 million passengers: Düsseldorf International Airport brings year 2008 to an end achieving passenger record

The airport of Düsseldorf jumps 18-million-passenger mark and finishes 2008 - since 2004 for the fifth time in a row - with a new record in passenger numbers. 18.150.184 million passengers used the airport. 228.531 aircraft took off and landed at Germany's third largest airport. The number of passengers and aircraft movements thus rose by 1.8 percent or 0.3 percent respectively in comparison with previous year's figures. Whereas the first half year certainly saw a growth which was more than averagely high, this was relativized since the beginning of the second half year due to the world economy's cooling off. "In 2008 we have profited by our strong catchment area and by successfully building up the hub traffic of both of our biggest carriers Air Berlin and Lufthansa," stresses Christoph Blume, the airport's CEO. "All in all, in a sector-internal comparison, we are above the nationwide average as regards our traffic."

The airport of Düsseldorf continues its way as the third German hub. The main moving forces of growth in 2008 were Lufthansa and the Air Berlin Group. The share of transit passengers in Düsseldorf thus rose from five to about eight percent - in the traffic to and from North America even to an average of over 20 percent. In order to be the airport with the shortest and most convenient possibilities of transferring and to smoothly handle increasing traffic an investment program amounting to circa 300 million Euros has been issued.

Especially Lufthansa generated an above average increase in passenger numbers by employing the Airbus A340 on the intercontinental connections to New York, Chicago Toronto and Miami. In addition, Lufthansa served new routes (for example Bastia, Olbia and Wroclaw/Breslau) to other European countries and within Germany and increased its numbers of flights to already existing destinations (for example Valencia and Newcastle).

The greatest airline in Düsseldorf, the Air Berlin Group, too, further expanded its involvement in North-Rhine Westphalia's capital and strengthened its range of flights, for instance to the destinations Hamburg, Stuttgart, Dresden and Vienna.

The moving force in Düsseldorf was the long-distance traffic with a plus of about 16.7 percent. With this, the passenger volume to the USA was outstanding in 2008 yielding a growth rate of over 35 per cent. Also the connections of Emirates to Dubai as well as the connection of Air Berlin to Thailand saw an unstoppable increase of passenger numbers.

Several airlines have to be pointed out within the dense network of European routes: Turkish Airlines, for example, carried out considerably more movements to Istanbul and Ankara than in the previous year. In addition, the carriers Air France-KLM Group to Paris and Amsterdam respectively as well as Swiss to Zurich reported an especially positive increase of passenger numbers.

The British airline Flybe, too, realized an above average traffic with its connections to Manchester, Birmingham and Southampton in 2008. All in all, the growing low cost segment made a contribution to the positive development in Düsseldorf and has reached a share of above 20 percent of all aircraft movements by now. The second half of the year, however, was shaped by the cooling economic trends.

The airport of Düsseldorf expects a further consolidation of the commercial aviation market in 2009 depending on the development of economic trends.

"In view of the present situation we regard the year 2009 as a big challenge for the entire industry. We are confident, however, that the airport of Düsseldorf is well prepared for the increasing competition, thanks to its offers. It has turned out that air traffic always developed very dynamically after economic recovery. We assume the same for the next years ahead of us," says Blume.

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