Frankfurt Main airport’s operator, Fraport, says passenger numbers in the first week of March dropped by 30% in the aftermath of the coronavirus outbreak.

The figure for the German hub had declined by 4% during February, although there was an accelerating negative trend towards the end of the month with a 14.5% fall in the final week.

Fraport says the outbreak has led to “massive” flight cancellations and “very weak” demand in both European and intercontinental traffic.

It says it has embarked on cost-saving measures, with expenditure being “rigorously reviewed” and limited only to that essential for business operations.

Hiring of new personnel has been suspended and staff have been asked to rearrange shifts, or even postpone them until summer or autumn, while some employees are being offered voluntary unpaid leave.

The company had been expecting Frankfurt Main passenger numbers to remain flat this year, before the coronavirus crisis, but it is instead forecasting a “significant slump” – with a €10-14 impact on EBTDA for each missing passenger.

“We have to assume that the strong decline in air traffic volumes will continue during the next few weeks and months,” says executive board chair Stefan Schulte, adding that the company cannot provide detailed financial guidance for the full year 2020.

Fraport adds that the situation is likely to have further “dampening” effects on revenues at the group’s other airport interests.