DB and air transport agree action plan for cooperation and more climate protection


Interaction between modes of transport to be improved – Potential to attract around 4.3 million domestic air travellers to rail in the medium term – Transport sector to reduce CO2 emissions

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Berlin, 15 April 2021 – The German Air Transport Association (BDL) and Deutsche Bahn (DB) are launching a joint action plan to improve the interconnection of transport modes and reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the transport sector. In the declaration signed today in Berlin, the two parties announce a series of measures to improve the interfaces between the modes of transport and the mobility offer in such a way that more travellers opt for rail, especially when travelling to hub airports.

The air transport industry and DB see the potential for a good 20 percent of domestic German travellers by air to opt for rail instead. The partners want to leverage this potential in the coming years: With high-performance attractive offers and ongoing infrastructure expansion, BDL and DB want to win over around 4.3 million passengers to switch to the train. In 2019, the air transport industry recorded around 23 million travellers, 8 million of them in feeder traffic and 15 million on purely domestic trips. As a result, the share of domestic air traffic in CO2 emissions in Germany could be reduced by one sixth.

The action plan focuses on three points:

1. growing offer of feeder trains to international flights

The Lufthansa Express Rail service will grow to include more domestic routes. Where passengers accept the offer and increasingly switch to rail, the air transport industry can consequently reduce flight frequencies and also discontinue connections, such as on the Cologne-Frankfurt connection or most recently on the Berlin-Nuremberg route. The fast rail connections are intended to shift feeder flights to major hubs and individual car traffic to the airport onto the railways.

2. easier transfer between flight and train:

Optimised routing and signage will make it easier for travellers to change between flights and trains. The transfer at the airport between the train and the security area of the airport will be improved for intermodal customers. Baggage handling is also to be made easier. Frankfurt Airport will be the first to do this. 3.

Faster train connections between metropolises:

The federal government is working with DB to expand the federal rail network in order to implement the Deutschlandtakt in stages. This will enable shorter travel times and coordinated connecting trains throughout Germany. The action plan takes into account efficiently developed, attractive rail connections, especially between the metropolises, and better transfer connections in local transport. In this way, the need for domestic flights can be made superfluous on more and more routes

Ronald Pofalla, DB Board Member for Infrastructure: „This action plan is active climate protection! Travellers who have so far used the plane should in future take the environmentally friendly train as a matter of course. There are already numerous fast connections between the metropolises that can keep up with any domestic German airline.“

Berthold Huber, DB Board Member for Passenger Transport: „We will be offering more alternatives to short-haul flights as early as the timetable change in December with new super-fast Sprinter connections. In addition, we are linking the airports even more closely to rail. In doing so, we want to work closely with the aviation industry. The recent expansion of our partnership with Lufthansa is ground-breaking for this.“

Peter Gerber, President of the German Air Transport Association BDL: „We want to network the modes of transport in such a way that the customer-friendliness of the mobility offer for travellers is further improved. With a growing range of rail services and optimised interfaces, more people will switch to rail. This is an important building block for climate protection in the transport sector.“

Dr Stefan Schulte, President of the German Airports Association ADV: „A customer-friendly connection of airports to the rail network is a prerequisite for more people choosing rail instead of air or car to travel to the airport. Our joint action plan identifies concrete projects to further optimise connectivity.“

In order to replace feeder flights and to avoid car journeys to the airports, the connection of the major hubs to rail is a central factor. Five airports are already linked to long-distance and local transport (Berlin, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Cologne/Bonn and Leipzig/Halle) and a further seven airports to local transport (Dresden, Friedrichshafen, Hamburg, Hanover, Lübeck, Munich and Stuttgart). Stuttgart Airport will be connected to long-distance transport from December 2025. Furthermore, the Free State of Bavaria is examining options for a more extensive connection of Munich Airport in a feasibility study. This is considered necessary by the BDL to strengthen intramodality.

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