ATC strikes impact traffic at Brussels Airport, Hong Kong posts small rise

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Brussels Airport welcomed just under two million passengers in March – 1.9 per cent more than the same month last year – but strikes by air traffic control provider skeyes hindered growth.

The Belgian gateway said if had not been for the repeated strike action the traffic rise could have been even bigger as it led to 1.3 per cent of passenger flights in March being cancelled.

To a lesser degree, the airport said decelerated growth in the number of passengers was also impacted by the bankruptcy of British regional airline fly bmi.

The number of locally boarding passengers went up by one per cent compared against March 2018. The number of transfer passengers on the other hand fell by 6.9 per cent.

Brussels Airport said this fall too is explained by the industrial action at skeyes, which meant passengers had to be transferred to connecting flights at other airports.

In the long-haul flight segment, the biggest increases were recorded by Cathay Pacific, United Airlines, Ethiopian Airlines and ANA. For the short-haul flights, Ryanair, Iberia, Aeroflot, SAS, TUI fly, Air Europa, Vueling and Aegean Airlines were the sharpest climbers.

Over in Asia, Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) saw continued growth as passenger volume rose by 0.3 per cent to 6.4 million compared to the same month last year.

The growth in passenger volume was driven by higher levels of transfer and transit traffic, which together registered a year-on-year upsurge of nine per cent.

Passenger traffic to and from India, mainland China and Japan recorded the most significant increases. Because the Easter peak season fell in late March last year, Hong Kong resident travel in March this year experienced a 10 per cent year-on-year drop.

Over the first three months of the year, HKIA handled 18.8 million passengers and on a 12-month rolling basis, HKIA handled 75.1 million passengers.

The airport is expecting a travel surge during the Easter holidays, and will employ additional manpower will be deployed to assist passengers at the terminals.

Airport Authority Hong Kong deputy director of service delivery, Steven You said: “Some 70 extra flights will be arranged during 18 April to 1 May for popular destinations including Taipei, Osaka, Nagoya and Busan. The airport community will work closely together to ensure smooth operations during the holidays.”