Nobody expected this a year ago: after posting record figures in 2019, Memmingen Airport recorded a significant decline in passengers and flight movements in 2020 due to the Coronavirus pandemic. In a nationwide comparison, however, our Allgäu Airport was hit far less hard than other airports. The company looks to the future with cautious optimism, and expects holiday traffic to commence at Whitsun.
An increase of 15.4 per cent in passenger volume was recorded in the 2019 financial year; over 1.7 million passengers landed or took off at Memmingen Airport. Only 690,780 passengers were documented in airport operations in 2020. “Corona has more than halved the number of our passengers,” says Airport Managing Director Ralf Schmid. The decline in flight activity was significantly lower, falling by 25 per cent to 17,436 (previous year: 23,345).“If you compare our figures with those of other German airports, we got off lightly,” summarises Schmid. Based on an average of all airports, Memmingen recorded the second-lowest decline in passenger numbers in Germany, at minus 60 per cent.
“2020 was a year brimming with challenges,” summarises Ralf Schmid. “We experienced something of a rollercoaster ride with numerous surprises.” A good start was followed by a four-week halt to all scheduled and charter flights in April. However, connections to Eastern Europe and the performance by airline Wizz Air, in particular, then ensured continuous operations. “To this day, we form an important connection for carers, nurses and harvest workers between Eastern Europe and southern Germany,” explains Schmid. The airport had fulfilled its operating obligations at all times, and was open for ambulance, military and police flights, as well as for so-called “sovereign traffic”. As a result, 98 people were transported in medical emergencies. The most spectacular mission was that of the landing of an Airbus A310. This flying intensive care unit of the Bundeswehr brought seriously injured Ukrainian soldiers to the Bundeswehr hospital in Ulm for further treatment.
However, the ongoing crisis has not yet had any existential impact on the airport company. Naturally, the company reacted quickly in consultation with the employees and the Supervisory Board and applied for short-time work for Flughafen Memmingen GmbH and its subsidiary ALLgate GmbH, which together employ around 160 people. Planned investments were postponed wherever possible. Those responsible remain cautiously optimistic for the current year. Visits to relatives and friends and flights to work or university would probably be the first to pick up again, followed by holiday trips – perhaps as early as Whitsun. “Ultimately,” says Schmid, “everything depends on the further course of development in terms of new infection and vaccination rates.”
Sofia at the top
Sofia was the most popular destination for passengers last year, followed by Sibiu, Timisoara, Varna and Kiev. New destinations have also been added to the flight schedule. Passengers travelled to Bacău in north-eastern Romania, and Catania in Sicily for the first time. Larnaca on Cyprus, Heraklion on Crete and Rhodes also celebrated new arrivals. Last year, a total of 59 destinations were served from Memmingen by 17 airlines on scheduled and charter flights. There is also a new addition for this year: from the end of May, the Ukrainian charter and low-cost airline, SkyUp, will be connecting Memmingen with Kiev.
New to the Supervisory Board
At the turn of the year, there were also changes on the Supervisory Board of Flughafen Memmingen GmbH. Michael Schilling, who has represented the founding partner Dachser since the airport’s early days, was succeeded by Stephan Hohm. Dr Albert Schultz, who represents the founding partner Magnet Schultz Memmingen, is now the new Deputy Chairman of the Supervisory Board. Another new member of the committee is Günzburg District Administrator, Dr Hans Reichart, a former Bavarian Minister of Transport and a proven expert in transport policy.