German airport operator Fraport said it expected passengers numbers at Frankfurt airport to rise by between around 4-6% this year, driven by main customer Lufthansa and Ryanair. 

Lufthansa is currently doing more flying as a result of the demise of local rival Air Berlin.

Ryanair has started flying from Frankfurt as part of a bid to operate from more major airports and expand in Germany. 

Fraport expects passenger numbers of between 67 and 68.5 million at Europe's fourth-busiest airport this year, up from 64.5 million in 2017, it said today after reporting 2017 results. 

Frankfurt was slow to open up to low cost carriers. They accounted for around 3% of flights at Frankfurt last year, compared with figures of around 10-20% at other German airports. 

In February, passenger numbers at Frankfurt rose 8.5%, driven by short-haul European routes. The number of seats offered by carriers at the airport in the upcoming summer travel season is up 7 to 8 percent, Fraport said. 

However, main customer Lufthansa is still putting on pressure over airport charges and said it remained in talks with Fraport on how to bring costs down, while improving the quality of the services at the airport for passengers. 

Fraport said 2017 earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) dropped 4.8% to €1.003 billion, against the average analyst expectation for €1.008 billion in a Reuters poll. 

It said it expected an increase to €1.08-1.11 billion for 2018. The average analyst forecast for 2018 in the poll was €1.13 billion.