Air and rail traffic are to be better networked in the future. Short-haul flights in particular are to be shifted more to rail. In order to further expand the offer, however, “the support of the federal government” is now needed.

In Germany, the number of domestic flights has fallen sharply – according to Deutsche Bahn (DB) and the aviation industry, this is mainly due to the improved offer for rail passengers. The expansion of feeder traffic and cooperation offers from airlines with the train have shifted short-haul flights to the rail, explained DB together with the Federal Association of the German Aviation Industry (BDL). This networking of the modes of transport should now be pushed further.

The range of short-haul flights in the first half of 2023 is only 56 percent of the level of 2019, DB and BDL explained. “Although air traffic is increasing again after the pandemic-related slump, there is a trend towards further shifting of domestic short-haul traffic to rail.” DB’s Sprinter traffic between major cities has seen a 45 percent increase in demand compared to 2019.

Bahn and BDL see this as the fruit of a joint effort – they had already presented a corresponding action plan in April 2021. Part of the success “are our expanded feeder services to Germany’s largest airport in Frankfurt am Main,” explained Michael Peterson, head of Deutsche Bahn’s long-distance transport division. “In this way we are improving the mobility offer for travelers, making a contribution to climate protection in the transport sector and ensuring the competitiveness of the German aviation industry,” added BDL President Jost Lammers.

In order to further expand the offer, however, “the support of the federal government for accelerated infrastructure expansion” is now needed, explained Lammers. BDL and DB refer in particular to the lack of connection between Munich Airport and the ICE network.