Good news for the economy, but less so for noise and air pollution affecting residents living near Zaventem Airport.
Since the resumption of non-essential flights on 15 June this year, the number of passengers handled at Brussels Airport has risen, but remains 80% below July 2019 figures.
This means that in July, for the first month of the summer holidays, 525,000 passengers passed through Brussels Airport. These figures reflect both the desire of many Belgians to go on holiday abroad and the uncertainty linked to the frequent changes in the health situation in different European regions. Freight, and particularly full cargo, continues to grow, with an increase of +9,9% in air freight volumes in July.
‘The figures for July are in line with our forecasts’, says Arnaud Feist, CEO of the Brussels Airport Company. ‘Together with our partners, we have worked hard to attract passengers back to the airport, to inform them about the available flights and to make them aware of the various health measures in force at our airport. It is important for us to offer them a wide choice of destinations, linked to the current travel possibilities, but also to welcome them in a healthy and safe airport. Frequent changes in travel restrictions due to the health situation in certain regions have weighed on this month’s traffic. We are also pleased to note that passengers are complying with health measures and avoiding risky behaviour.’
Passengers mainly chose European destinations because of restrictions and bans on travel to non-European destinations. The number of passengers could have been higher if all Mediterranean countries had been open for holidays. Destinations such as Morocco, Tunisia or Turkey, which are generally popular for summer holidays.
For the second consecutive month, air freight saw an increase in volumes transported, up 9.9% compared with July 2019. Express services recorded an increase of +25.3%, while full cargo volumes are increasing by +89%. These increases compensate for the lack of freight capacity on board passenger aircraft (-72%). These additional operations are mainly carried out during the day, which means that the number of night flights at Brussels Airport is not increasing.
The total number of flight movements decreased by -63.7% in July 2020 compared to July 2019, to 8,201 (compared to 22,599 in July 2019). The number of passenger flights decreased by -74.1% due to the coronavirus crisis, while the number of cargo flights increased by +42.7%. The occupancy rate stands at 102 passengers/flight. Occupancy on intercontinental traffic remains low due to travel restrictions.
At the beginning of August, 120 destinations are offered at Brussels Airport by around forty airlines. These are mainly European destinations due to travel restrictions and bans on travel to non-Schengen countries. Spain, Italy, Greece, France and Portugal are the most popular destinations. 700 flights per week are scheduled from Brussels Airport.