Antwerp’s airport activities got off to an excellent start this year, continuing the trend from the end of 2019 into the first 3 months of 2020, partly due to the excellent utilisation of the aircraft of Air Antwerp and TUI fly.
Europe’s landscape soon changed with land borders closed in early March due to an exponential increase in contamination. This situation soon turned out to be unsustainable, which is why Air Antwerp and then TUI fly decided, like many other airlines, to temporarily suspend their operations in the interest of all passengers and staff. The impact on traffic figures is therefore significant for March. What had to be a brilliant first quarter is now very common due to “corona”.
The impact of COVID-19 is significant. The number of passengers decreased by 43.7% to 9,806 compared to 17,433 passengers in March 2019. Nevertheless, the airport can close the first 3 months of the year with a modest growth of 0.5% compared to 2019. The slight increase in this first quarter can be attributed to the successful business flights of Air Antwerp to London City. Furthermore, the load factor of TUI fly was also excellent. However, we did notice a decrease in the number of business flights from Antwerp airport in March. As a result, the number of passengers within this segment also decreased.
In view of the strategic importance of our regional airport, in close consultation with the Flemish and Federal Authorities, Antwerp Airport has not lost precious time to take responsibility and anticipate in these extremely volatile circumstances. Air traffic at Antwerp airport has now been greatly reduced and is currently limited to essential business flights, repatriations, photo and inspection flights, government flights. Therefore, it seemed useful and useful from an economic point of view to bundle all operations within the adjusted minimum staffing regime for all staff. Airport management is therefore very grateful to the staff and airport users for the flexibility they display in this era of Corona. It is clear that the collective interest of good health takes precedence.
It looks like the second quarter will not be easy for the airport. The airport management is in close contact with the operators, the Flemish and the Federal Government, to discuss the prospects for the summer programming.
“The fact that we have absolute quarantine ahead for a few more weeks makes us realise that the virus is taking a heavy toll anyway. COVID-19 paralyses the aviation sector in its entirety, but we must be hopeful and dare to say that a growing sector such as aviation will also overcome this crisis,” says CEO Marcel Buelens.
Thursday, April 2, 2020