BERLIN, Sept. 30 (Xinhua) -- A return to last year's volume of air traffic in Germany cannot be expected until 2025 due to "long-term changes in travel behavior," the Deutsche Flugsicherung GmbH (DFS, the country's air navigation service provider) said on Wednesday.
"The rising infection figures and the testing and quarantine regulations for returnees are curbing the increase in traffic," Klaus-Dieter Scheurle, chief executive officer (CEO) of DFS, said. Also, no stimulus for growth from intercontinental air traffic is expected in the fourth quarter.
At the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis, the DFS had still assumed that air traffic in Germany would "slowly increase again" to 75 percent by December. Currently, the DFS expects air traffic to reach only about 45 percent of its pre-crisis level by December.
With approximately 1.5 million flights expected in German airspace in 2020, air traffic would fall to the lowest value since 1990, the year of the country's reunification, according to the DFS. Last year, the DFS registered around 3.3 million aircraft movements.
"For the time being, these traffic figures will remain at this level, as there are no signs of a significant upturn so far. We expect traffic in the corona year 2020 to more than halve compared to the previous year," Scheurle said.
The various travel restrictions, quarantine rules and testing strategies prevent the airlines from resuming normal flight operations, the DFS said. "For a return to normality, an international, or at least Europe-wide coordinated approach is essential," Scheurle stressed.
In 2021, DFS expects air traffic to rise to 60 percent of pre-crisis levels, constantly growing by 10 percentage points in the following years.
"Airlines, airports and air traffic control are the backbone of a networked world. The worldwide distribution of vaccines against the coronavirus alone will be a logistical challenge. This is where aviation will make a significant difference," Scheurle said.