Sonntag, 1. März 2009

A third runway for Munich airport?

Apparently, Munich airport and the state of Bavaria are still pushing ahead with their plans for a third runway. According to the airport's specially dedicated website, passenger throughput numbers will increase from 34.0 m in 2007 to 57.3 m in 2020.

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They didn't bother updating 2008 passenger numbers, which can be found somewhere else on the airport's website, and for good reason:

The 2020 extrapolation assumes 35.5 m passengers for 2008. Unfortunately, 2008 actual passenger numbers were only 34.5 m. Doesn't sound like a huge difference, but it is once you look at it in percentage terms: They assumed 5 % growth. Actual growth was 1 %. And the economic crisis only started to really bit in September, i.e. for four months of the year. There's little doubt that 2009 passenger numbers will be significantly lower than 2008 (as opposed to growing to 37.1 m as projected).

Of course lobbyists are unfazed. After the crisis is over, growth will continue, and be faster than ever before.

But why would it? The population in the main feeder markets (Germany, Austria, Northern Italy) is stagnating and will start shrinking soon. And if/when the world economy recovers from the current crisis, kerosene prices will inevitable skyrocket, thus putting a damper on demand for air travel.

Does anybody really believe passenger numbers at Munich airport will increase by 2/3 in just 12 years from 2008 to 2020? I'm willing to bet just about any amount that this will not happen (if anybody wants to bet, let me know).

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