German air traffic rebounded last year but still far to go

January 31, 2022 GMT
FILE -Passengers wait for their Lufthansa flight at the airport in Frankfurt, Germany, Saturday, May 15, 2021. The number of air passengers in Germany rebounded somewhat in 2021, but was still over two-thirds below pre-pandemic levels, official figures showed Monday. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner,file)
FILE -Passengers wait for their Lufthansa flight at the airport in Frankfurt, Germany, Saturday, May 15, 2021. The number of air passengers in Germany rebounded somewhat in 2021, but was still over two-thirds below pre-pandemic levels, official figures showed Monday. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner,file)
FILE -Passengers wait for their Lufthansa flight at the airport in Frankfurt, Germany, Saturday, May 15, 2021. The number of air passengers in Germany rebounded somewhat in 2021, but was still over two-thirds below pre-pandemic levels, official figures showed Monday. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner,file)
FILE -Passengers wait for their Lufthansa flight at the airport in Frankfurt, Germany, Saturday, May 15, 2021. The number of air passengers in Germany rebounded somewhat in 2021, but was still over two-thirds below pre-pandemic levels, official figures showed Monday. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner,file)
FILE -Passengers wait for their Lufthansa flight at the airport in Frankfurt, Germany, Saturday, May 15, 2021. The number of air passengers in Germany rebounded somewhat in 2021, but was still over two-thirds below pre-pandemic levels, official figures showed Monday. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner,file)

BERLIN (AP) — The number of air passengers in Germany rebounded somewhat last year but was still two-thirds below levels seen before the coronavirus pandemic, official figures showed Monday.

Nearly 74 million passengers last year took off from or landed at the 23 largest commercial airports in Germany, which has Europe’s biggest economy, the Federal Statistical Office said. That was about 27% more than in 2020, when the pandemic hit and travel came to a near-standstill, but close to 68% fewer than in 2019, when a record of nearly 227 million passengers used German airports.

Pandemic restrictions continue to hamper the air travel recovery.

Although domestic air travel was just over a fifth of 2019 levels after dropping an additional 19% last year, passengers traveling internationally, particularly elsewhere in Europe, were up nearly one-third last year to about 69 million passengers. That was still nearly two-thirds fewer than in 2019.

Last year was a boom year for air freight. Germany’s main airports saw a record 5.3 million tons of cargo last year, a nearly 13% increase over pre-crisis levels in 2019.