Fraport expects passenger numbers at Frankfurt airport to increase to be between 61 and 65 million this year, still leaving the Lufthansa hub airport some way short of the nearly 71 million high it handled before the pandemic in 2019.

Passenger traffic at the company’s flagship airport in Frankfurt rose to 59.4 million, up 21% on 2022.  While Fraport, which invests, owns and operates airports on five continents, says Frankfurt experienced the strongest recovery of all major German airports in 2023, it still left total passenger levels 16% lower than in 2019.

Fraport_Frankfurt Airport_March 2024

Source: Fraport

Frankfurt airport handled 59.4 million passengers in 2023, still 16% lower than pre-pandemic levels

“Traffic continued to develop dynamically throughout 2023,” Fraport chief executive Stefan Schulte said during a full-year earnings call on 19 March. “Fraport benefited from this trend particularly because of its broad international portfolio. Our airports in the Greek and Turkish markets even achieved new passenger records in 2023.”

“Our home-base, Frankfurt airport, continued to experience the strongest recovery of all major German airports. However, with passenger levels at 84% of pre-crisis levels, Frankfurt still lagged clearly behind other European competitors.”

FlightGlobal analysis of preliminary data shows Frankfurt is Europe’s sixth largest airport by passenger numbers, behind London Heathrow, Istanbul, Paris Charles de Gaulle, Amsterdam Schiphol and Madrid Barajas. Notably of Europe’s 10 biggest airports last year, Frankfurt lags 2019 passenger levels by the biggest margin.

Top 10 European airports by passenger figures in 2023
AirportCountryPax 2023 (m)Pax 2022 (m)Change (%)Pax 2019 (m)Change (%)
 Source: FlightGlobal analysis of preliminary airport traffic announcements
London Heathrow UK 79.2 61.6                    28                80.9 -             2
Istanbul Turkey 76.0 64.5                    18                68.7              11
Paris Charles de Gaulle France 67.4 57.5                    17                76.2 -           11
Amsterdam Schiphol Netherlands 61.7 52.5                    18                71.7 -           14
Madrid Barajas Spain 60.2 50.7                    19                61.7 -             2
Frankfurt  Germany 59.4 48.9                    22                70.6 -           16
Barcelona El Pratt Spain 49.9 41.6                    20                52.7 -             5
London Gatwick UK 40.9 32.9                    24                46.0 -           11
Rome Fiumicino Italy 40.5 29.4                    38                43.5 -             7
Istanbul Sabiha Gokcen Turkey 37.1 30.8                    21                36.0               3

Fraport says a primary “dampening factor” last year was high location-related costs. The share of levies and fees imposed by regulators has doubled since 2019.

The company criticises the increases, saying that if the government sticks with its plans to raise civil aviation taxes and security airport fees further, operators in Germany “will face even more challenging framework conditions that are beyond their direct sphere of influence”.

“The government should change course and instead support our industry in the changeover to carbon-free operations and other important initiatives,” Schulte says.


Fraport says it expects the passenger volume at Frankfurt to rise to between 61 million and 65 million this year. That is lower than previous guidance the company gave last September.

Schulte says aircraft availability - owing to Boeing’s quality problems and the Pratt & Whitney engine issue recall on Airbus narrowbody models - has constrained capacity growth. Also, labour action by ground staff and airline cabin cew has in 2024 so far cost the company 500,000 passengers. 

“Hopefully there will be no further strikes,” he adds. 

For 2025, Schulte says the company expects to be “close” to 100% recovered, but “it’s still a question mark”.

Cargo volume in Frankfurt fell 3.9%, to 1.9 million t during 2023, brought down by market-based factors such as restrictions in European airspace and weak economic growth resulting from the global geopolitical situation. Frankfurt remains Europe’s largest cargo airport, however.

Frankfurt will open a third terminal on the south side of the airport’s primary runways in 2026, which will accommodate up to another 20 million passengers per year, the company says. Its plans call for airlines in Frankfurt’s Terminal 2 to move to Terminal 3 at that time, with Terminal 2 closing for three years for a comprehensive renovation. 

Group revenue rose 25% to €4 billion in 2023, with earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) rising 17% to a new record, €1.2 billion. EBITDA margin was 30%. Net profit more than doubled to €430.5 million.

Passenger figures at Fraport airports worldwide, excluding Frankfurt, increased to 98% of pre-Covid-19 levels.

Fraport will not pay a dividend in 2024 due to “high debt levels and with free cash flow projected to be negative” and will not likely pay a dividend next year either. EBITDA for the full year 2024 is forecast to be between €1.26 billion and €1.36 billion, with net profit rising to between €435 million and €530 million.

The company is also targeting an EBITDA of €2 billion by 2030, supported by its diversified international portfolio, executives say.