The German plan to attract domestic air passengers to rail travel is proving successful, with the number of passengers using rail services growing at a faster rate than comparable air travel. It is reported by Railway Supply, citing IRJ.


The German Aviation Association (BDL) and Deutsche Bahn (DB) launched a joint action plan in April 2021 to strengthen integration between air and rail transport.

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In the first half of 2023, domestic air traffic in Germany is expected to reach around 56% of 2019 levels. Although air travel has increased since the Covid-19 pandemic, DB says there is evidence of a trend towards a further switch from domestic short-haul air travel to rail. In particular, the use of DB ICE Sprinter services is growing: the number of passengers in 2022 increased by 45% compared to 2019.

In addition, enhanced value-added services and offerings such as Lufthansa Express Rail have contributed significantly to the success of the action plan. In 2021, demand for shared feeder services offered by DB and Lufthansa at Frankfurt Airport was on par with 2019 levels by October, with demand up another 25% in 2022.

“Wherever aviation and rail cooperate, we record double-digit growth rates,” says DB board member for long-distance passenger transport, Mr Michael Peterson. “Part of this success is our expanded feeder services to Germany’s largest airport in Frankfurt. If we succeed in intelligently linking the modes of transport, we will win more people for climate-friendly mobility chains.”

“We are improving the mobility offer for travellers, making a contribution to climate protection in the transport sector and ensuring the competitiveness of the German air transport industry,” says BDL president, Mr Jost Lammers. “However, to make further progress, we also need the support of the federal government for accelerated infrastructure development.”

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