Since the reintroduction of non-essential flights on 15 June, the number of passengers at Brussels Airport has increased, but it still remains 80% below July 2019.
In July 2020, 525,000 passengers passed through Brussels Airport. On one side, the result reflects the Belgians’ desire to travel abroad; on the other side, it highlights the uncertainty caused by the constant changes in the health situation in several European regions.
Freight, and particularly full cargo, continues to make improvements: in July air freight volumes registered an increase of +9.9%.
Arnaud Feist, CEO of Brussels Airport Company, declared that July’s figures are in line with their forecasts. He explains that Brussels Airport, together with other stakeholders, have worked hard to attract passengers back to the airport, keeping them informed about available flights and health measures in force at the airport. According to Feist, it is fundamental to offer a broad choice of destinations, in line with the current travel restrictions, but it is also important to ensure a safe and healthy airport’s environment. “We are also pleased to note that passengers are complying with health measures and avoiding risky behavior,’ concluded Feist.
1. July 2020: A satisfactory first month of the holidays
In July 2020, Brussels Airport welcomed 525,022 passengers, a result which is in line with what was expected. This figure is down by -80.8% if compared to the same month of last year.
Of these, 303,222 were departing passengers and 221,800 arriving passengers. The number of transfer passengers, which fell by -92.3%, represents 8% of all departing passengers.
Naturally, most passengers traveled to European countries due to bans on travel to non-European destinations. If all Mediterranean countries had opened their borders, the number of passengers could have been even higher. But places such as Tunisia, Morocco, or Turkey – which are normally very popular summer destinations – are now chosen only by passengers who have families there (the country’s passport is required).
The frequent changes in border closures also have a negative effect on the number of passengers.
Some airlines also carry freight on passenger flights. Brussels Airport has welcomed again companies such as United Airlines, Air Canada, Qatar Airways, Emirates, Etihad, Ethiopian and Hainan Airlines which are operating passengers’ essential journeys and also freight carriage.
2. Solid growth in air freight
For the second consecutive month, air freight registered an increase in volumes (+ 9.9% compared to July 2019). This result is opposite to the overall trend: on a global scale, freight volume is continuing to decrease mainly because of the reduction of belly cargo, i.e. the cargo on board of passenger aircraft.
Express services increased by +25.3%, and full cargo volumes increased by +89%. The additional flights are operated by both full cargo planes, and passenger aircraft converted for freight carriage.
In July, the volume of cargo transported at Brussels Airport amounted to 55,729 tons (+0.3% compared to July 2019), including truck freight.
3. Flights figures
In July, Brussels airport saw a decrease of -63.7% in the total number of flights: from 22,599 in July 2019, they dropped to 8,201 in July 2020. The number of passenger flights decreased by -74.1%, and the number of cargo flights increased by +42.7%.
At the beginning of August, Brussels Airport offers 120 destinations operated by around 40 airlines. The most popular destinations include Spain, Italy, Greece, France and Portugal.