99% drop in passenger numbers, 61% increase in full cargo in May at Brussels Airport


Passenger flights from Brussels Airport to 36 destinations to resume from 15 June

In a few days’ time, Brussels Airport will again be welcoming thousands of travellers. The coronavirus pandemic has impacted significantly on the airport’s passenger numbers in April and May. Last month, 22,113 passengers passed through Brussels Airport for essential travel and repatriations. In terms of cargo, although the airport has seen an 8.9% reduction in volumes transported, full cargo, in particular, is up an impressive 61.5%. Brussels Airport is pulling out all the stops to be able to safely resume passenger flights from 15 June and to be able to offer, together with its partners, an ample choice of holiday destinations this summer. Despite the demise of Swissport, all handling operations will be ensured thanks to the collaboration of the airlines and Aviapartner.

Passenger traffic: numbers are down, but recovery is in sight

In May, 22,113 passengers passed through Brussels Airport, representing a decrease of 99% compared to May 2019. Both departing and arriving passenger numbers dropped by 99%. In May, each week, some 100 flights were operated by a dozen airlines. In total, 463 flights were carried out last month. Enough to ensure connections to many other destinations around the world for repatriation and essential travel (diplomats, doctors, military, business travellers etc.). The average passenger load factor was very low in May, with an average of 48 passengers per flight.

Cargo: significant increase in full cargo and integrator services

In May, the freight volume at Brussels Airport dropped by 8.9% year-on-year. This decrease is, again, the result of the cancellation of passenger flights that also carry cargo. As a result, belly cargo dropped by 93.2%. However, full cargo was up by a healthy 61.5% year-on-year, more than offsetting the loss of freight capacity on passenger aircraft. These additional flights are operated by full cargo planes, as well as passenger aircraft converted to carry cargo. These additional flights operate mainly during the day. Finally, integrator services saw a big increase in May (+17.5%), owing in particular to a route to Miami operating five times a week.


In May 2020, the total number of flight movements decreased by 86.4% to 2,855 (compared to 21,055 in May 2019). The number of passenger flights decreased by 97.5% due to the ongoing coronavirus crisis.

36 destinations from 15 June

It’s going to be all change from 15 June, with the reopening of borders, the resumption of passenger flights for all types of travel, and a return to business for several airlines. During the week commencing 15 June, 19 airline companies will be operating direct flights to 36 destinations, the majority of them within Europe. This includes holiday destinations such as Alicante, Catania, Faro, Lisbon, Istanbul, Nice, or even Naples and Athens, as well as city break and/or business destinations such as Berlin, Rome, Vienna, Zurich, Dublin and Budapest.

Outside of Europe, Brussels Airport will also be operating flights to Tel Aviv, Montreal, Abu Dhabi and Beijing. This ample initial choice of holiday destinations will expand over the weeks, increasing to 130 destinations in July.

Despite the demise of Swissport, Brussels Airport will do everything in its power to have operations run as smoothly as possible. The airport is working together with the unions, the trustees and the partners to rapidly find solutions. In the short term, Aviapartner and the airlines that have a licence to carry out handling operations will take care of the check-in, boarding, baggage handling and push-back operations.

List of airlines and destinations operating at Brussels Airport in the week commencing 15 June 2020

Airlines Destinations
Aegean Airlines Athens
Air Canada Montreal
Air Serbia Belgrade
Austrian Airlines Vienna
Brussels Airlines Alicante
Tel Aviv
Bulgaria Air Sofia
Croatia Airlines Zagreb
Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi
Finnair Helsinki
Hainan Airlines Beijing
KLM Amsterdam
Lufthansa Frankfurt
Ryanair Dublin
SAS Copenhagen
Swiss Zurich
TAROM Bucharest
TUI fly Dubrovnik
Turkish Airlines Istanbul
Wizz Air Budapest


Brussels Airport, 11 June 2020