Angry vacationers, stressed business travelers, flights canceled at short notice and mercilessly overcrowded trains: What is currently happening at German airports and German train stations defies description.
Germany as logistics and transport world champion?
That was once.
The reasons for the disaster may be complex, ranging from the consequences of the pandemic and supply chain problems to the upheavals caused by the Ukraine war.
The finding, on the other hand, is clear: Germany will become real estate in the summer of 2022.
As the FAZ learned from internal documents of Deutsche Lufthansa, not even every second plane from Germany's largest airline currently manages to take off reasonably punctually.
At Germany's by far most important hub in Frankfurt, it's only one in four.
The group has already canceled thousands of flights this summer.
Affected customers are in turn offered alternatives, some outrageous, at short notice.
On the other hand, while performance falls, prices rise.
One could almost get the impression that Lufthansa wants to scare off new customers because it is already overwhelmed with the old ones.
The workforce is seething.
The railway advises the truck
Many employees who once proudly wore the crane logo on their uniform are ashamed of what is happening now.
The works council has openly demanded an end to the "cost-cutting mania" after CEO Carsten Spohr admitted in his most recent apology that he probably overdid the savings in one place or another.
Airlines, like airport operators, have lost a lot of staff during the pandemic.
Quite a few employees who are absent today accepted lavish severance payments and reoriented themselves yesterday.
Business customers and vacationers are now coming back, contrary to all assumptions, more and faster than expected - a rush that can no longer be managed.
Forward-looking personnel planning works differently.
Things don't get any better on the rails.
Deutsche Bahn was actually chosen by politicians to become the engine of the mobility revolution.
The reality on Germany's platforms is currently completely different and there is no improvement in sight.
On the contrary: Investments in the networks that have been postponed for a long time should finally be made up for in the coming years.
Central routes between Frankfurt and Mannheim or in the Rhine-Ruhr area even have to be temporarily closed for the renovation.
Deutsche Bahn has therefore asked important industrial customers to transport more of their goods on the roads of the republic during this time.
Just for comparison: While recently more than 3 billion tons of goods rolled over the roads every year, it was just around 350 million on the rails - and that will be too much in the future.
This is not the only reason why the word “declaration of bankruptcy” is making the rounds in corporate circles.
Deutsche Bahn advises trucks, if climate change weren't so serious, you'd have to laugh heartily.
In passenger transport, too, anyone who wants to keep an appointment at least reasonably punctually gets behind the wheel of their own car more often.
Not that the countless construction sites on Germany's autobahns suddenly disappeared, just as little as dilapidated bridges turned into stable pillars of the transport network overnight.
But those who travel individually by car are usually more flexible than all those stranded at a terminal or train station waiting to be connected.
In the short term, little can be done about the bottlenecks.
The aviation industry is trying to rush with politicians to recruit workers abroad in order to alleviate the worst shortage of personnel.
It remains to be seen whether this will succeed.
The train is already running on its current network at the stop.
Fixing the mistakes of the past takes time.
Germany is hitting the current transport and logistics crisis at the worst possible time, as the gas crisis, inflation and geopolitical turmoil are already threatening growth and prosperity in Europe's largest economy.
The country in the heart of Europe has so far enjoyed a reputation around the world for professionally managing the heavy flows of goods and people.
But this image is getting deep cracks.Keywords: