We already knew that both regional airports are becoming more firmly written on the map. Last year both of them have recorded growth. This increase can be explained by a larger capacity on existing destinations on one hand. On the other hand, a number of new destinations were added to the route map.
The total number of passengers in 2018 increased to 420,000. This is approximately the number of passengers in 2016, the year of the terrorist attacks, during which 435,000 passengers came through the airport. If we compare 2018 with 2017, there is a solid double digits growth; plus 15%.
The combination of higher load factors for TUI fly and 4 new destinations are the basis of this success. The launch of Sharm El Sheikh and Hurghada were appreciated by travellers.
As far as the summer in Ostend is concerned, we see significant increases for various destinations. The frequency to destinations Sharm El Sheikh and Hurghada is increased by 50%, Djerba and Enfidha by 20% and Chania by 24%. Enfidha and Djerba are 2 Tunisian destinations that were successfully put back on the TUI schedules.
In terms of cargo, we can speak frankly about good progress; the figures are about 20% higher compared to 2017. In absolute figures, the airport handled 28,000 tonnes in 2018 compared to 23,500 tonnes in 2017. Higher amounts of fruit and vegetables, more frequent diversions of cargo aircraft from Liège and Schiphol to Ostend due to saturation of those airports and finally more occasional landings by the American cargo airline Kalitta are several reasons that explain this growth figure. The perspectives are also particularly promising for 2019.
The number of business and training flights has remained more or less stable. In April 2019 the opening of the new business terminal is on the agenda. Here too is ‘the sky is the limit’.
Moreover, the planned capacity increase to top destinations is an essential component for further growth:
- Alicante: 6x per week and daily from July to September.
- Malaga: 6x per week
- Ibiza: 2x per week and from July to September this is 3 times a week
- Corfu: 1x per week but between July and September the frequency is doubled
The 300,000 mark was just not reached with its 298,403 passengers. Nevertheless, this means a comfortable growth of 10% compared to 2017. It seemed a little different with the disappearance of VLM from the second half of the year.
There is a striking trend to note here; only 12.6% of the number of movements are commercial flights and that figure represents 88% of the passengers. The number of business and training flights is 66%. The business people clearly find their way to Antwerp Airport.
The number of scheduled flights has declined overall, but that number of passengers is being taken care of by a higher occupation by plane at Tui Fly. Flybe captures just over half of the loss due to VLM’s bankruptcy for the flights to London Southend.
With three new routes, Enfidha (Tunisia), Lublin (Poland) and Tangier (Morocco), the future for Antwerp Airport looks bright in 2019.
The very popular destinations such as Alicante and Malaga now fly 5 times a week from Antwerp.