Air freight boom in 2020 – Covid-19 keeps passenger planes on the ground

Mitteldeutsche Flughafen AG benefited from strongly developing business in the air freight sector during the past year, 2020, which marked a turning point for the complete air traffic sector due to the Covid-19 pandemic. While passenger traffic almost came to a complete standstill around the world as a result of lockdowns and travel restrictions, air cargo handling operations guaranteed the supply chains to provide goods for populations and industry. As Europe’s fifth-largest cargo airport, Leipzig/Halle Airport played a crucial role in this process.


Passenger traffic collapses

The numbers of passengers passing through Dresden and Leipzig/Halle Airports during 2020 totalled 918,340, 78.2 percent below the previous year’s figure. Dresden Airport registered 385,651 passengers, 75.9 percent fewer than in 2019. The number of passengers at Leipzig/Halle fell to 532,690, a decline of 79.7 percent.

Significant growth in air freight

The volume of freight handled at Leipzig/Halle Airport increased by 11.7 percent to approx. 1,383,485 tonnes in 2020. This set a new record high. Growth was particularly significant during the fourth quarter. Freight volumes increased by 35.0 percent to approx. 140,940 tonnes during December alone. 

Götz Ahmelmann, the CEO der Mitteldeutsche Flughafen AG, comments, “We can count ourselves lucky that we’re continuing to attract stable business to the whole corporate group, primarily through our air freight operations. We’re expecting further growth in freight in 2021 and also a gradual recovery in passenger numbers, as soon as the travel restrictions are eased. Dresden Airport will benefit from this substantially, as it had already temporarily emerged from the crisis in good shape last spring.”

The outlook for air freight is encouraging for the current year too. Both the scheduled and freight charter business are developing in a positive manner. Shipments of medical goods and protective equipment will also play an important role. This includes the possibility of handling vaccines at Leipzig/Halle. Thanks to its CEIV Pharma certification, the airport is able to handle temperature- and time-critical pharmaceutical shipments round the clock.

Leipzig/Halle Airport, which is Germany’s second-largest air freight hub, safeguards important logistical and supply chains. The airport operates the largest DHL hub in the world and it is the first regional air freight centre for Amazon Air in Europe. This means that Leipzig/Halle is one of the most important hubs for express and e-commerce shipments.

The airport also serves as a handling centre for medical aid and protective equipment in the battle against the Covid-19 pandemic. This role will only become even more significant as a result of the planned settlement of a new logistics centre for disaster management near the airport. Millions of masks, protective gloves and Covid-19 rapid tests have already been flown in and distributed across Europe up to now. Overall, about 60 cargo airlines fly to the airport and serve a network of routes that includes more than 280 destinations around the globe.


Press Release

Media contact:

Uwe Schuhart
Director Media Relations/PR
Press Spokesperson
Mitteldeutsche Flughafen AG
Phone: +49 (0) 341 224-1159