NewsEscalating transport crisis hits Germany. Soaring flight cancellations and train delays in 2023

Escalating transport crisis hits Germany. Soaring flight cancellations and train delays in 2023

Residents of Munich. Illustrative photo.
Residents of Munich. Illustrative photo.
Images source: © Getty Images | Lukas Barth
3:06 PM EST, December 20, 2023

There was a significant increase in the number of canceled flights in Germany in 2023, rising to 12,218. This means that 1.91 percent of all planned flights were not executed. Flightright reports that the cancellation rate was slightly lower in the preceding year, at 1.84 percent. Furthermore, by December 6, 148,757 airplanes landed at German airports with at least a 15-minute delay – amounting to a troubling 23.21 percent of all connections.

France canceled 10,566 flights this year, equivalent to 1.8 percent of its total. Meanwhile, the Netherlands ranked third, canceling 3,788 flights, or 1.6 percent of their overall flights.

Germany is the "Master of Failure" in Europe

The leading German tabloid, "Bild", laments bitterly, "We are, essentially, the masters of failure across all of Europe". Prior to this, the newspaper had reported on Germany's railway transport crisis, highlighting an unprecedented number of delays and cancellations on Deutsche Bahn routes.

"Not much happens as it should in Germany", asserts "Bild". In 2023, only 48 percent of trains arrived on time. There was a significant increase in the number of traveler complaints - up by an alarming 47 percent. "The railway hasn't seen results this terrible in nine years," the newspaper stresses.

The public transportation situation in the capital is no better. The Berlin Transport Company (Berliner Verkehrsbetriebe, BVG), stated in its 2023 report that passengers had to wait on average eight minutes longer for buses and trains. Staff shortages further led BVG to reduce bus services by 6 percent.

Moreover, a recent study by the German Institute of Urban Studies noted a shortfall of as much as 60 billion euros in the expansion of urban transport networks.

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