In February, there was low growth in air traffic compared to the same month last year, and total traffic increased by 1 percent. The coronavirus affected traffic at the end of the month and so far, March has also shown a decline in traffic.
The first case of the coronavirus in Norway was confirmed in the evening of April 26, 2020. Air traffic immediately declined by 5 percent in the last days of February. This trend has continued, and in the first week of March there was a clear decline in the overall traffic at Avinor’s airports.
“We are seeing a clear decline in air traffic at the beginning of March, and we expect this to continue as long as the coronavirus situation carries on,” says Dag Falk-Petersen, CEO of Avinor.
He says that this is a challenging situation for aviation in Norway as well as internationally; and asks travellers to comply with the advice of the Norwegian health authorities.
“There is a global decline in air travel, and it is difficult to specify exactly how long this will continue. What we do know is that there are significantly fewer travellers to and from Norwegian airports than normal, and the cause is the coronavirus. We would therefore encourage all travellers to take good note of the advice from the Norwegian health authorities so that they are well prepared before taking their flights“.
Traffic development going forward and measures against the coronavirus
Based on the developments of recent weeks, a decline in air traffic must be expected in both domestic and international traffic going forward.
The central authorities at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health, Ministry of Health and Care Services, and the Directorate of Health, prepare national guidelines and actions for Norwegian airports and border crossings. The national authorities are also in contact with international fora and authorities.
“We have taken measures at our airports in accordance with the Norwegian Institute of Public Health’s procedures for warning and handling of passengers with suspected coronavirus (COVID-19) on aircraft and at airports in Norway. Our airports have updated their contingency plans for pandemic diseases, and are in dialogue with local health authorities. The local chief municipal medical officer is responsible for the prevention of infectious diseases in relation to incidents at the airports,” says Falk-Petersen.
Leap year day boosted growth in February
“Thanks to an extra leap year day in February this year we see a growth in air travel, and without this day there would have been a slight decline,” says Gaute Skallerud Riise, Vice President Traffic Development at Avinor.