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. This means that, in July, for the first month of the summer holidays, 525,000 passengers passed through Brussels Airport. This result reflects both the desire of many Belgians to go on holiday abroad and the uncertainty linked to the frequent changes in the health situation in several European regions. For its part, freight, and particularly full cargo, continues to make progress, since an increase of +9,9% in air freight volumes was observed in July.
‘The figures for July are in line with our forecasts’, explains Arnaud Feist, CEO of 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.’
Passenger travel: A satisfactory first month of the holidays
In line with the forecasts drawn up at the end of June, 525,022 passengers were welcomed at Brussels Airport in July of this year, down by -80.8% compared to July 2019. Of these, 303,222 were departing passengers and 221,800 arriving passengers, a difference that can be explained by the fact that holidaymakers waited until the start of the holiday season to head off. The number of transfer passengers fell by -92.3%, but despite the crisis represents 8% of all departing passengers.
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 were open for holidays. Destinations such as Morocco, Tunisia or Turkey, which are generally popular for summer holidays, are therefore mainly chosen by passengers who wish to see their families again (travellers must hold the passport of the country in question). The sometimes daily changes in border closures and colour codes also have a negative effect on the number of passengers who are seeking clarity. The volumes stagnated from the third week of July after a promising start to the month.
Note that airlines also carry a lot of freight on passenger flights. Air Canada, United Airlines, Etihad, Qatar Airways, Emirates, Ethiopian and Hainan Airlines notably are once again active at Brussels Airport in this context and also welcome passengers for essential journeys.