379,303 passengers passed through Brussels Airport during September. This is just 15.2% of the total number of passengers recorded in September 2019. This negative result is mainly due to the increasing travel restrictions and in particular Spain, Brussels Airport’s flagship destination, passing into the red zone. For its part, air freight continues to make progress, with a strong 18.9% increase in volumes observed in September.
Passenger traffic: 85% drop in passenger numbers
379,303 passengers were welcomed at Brussels Airport in September of this year, down by -84.8 % compared to September 2019. These consisted of 175,594 departing passengers and 203,709 arriving passengers, a difference that can be explained by the end of the summer holidays and by the many destinations that have gone into the red zone, particularly Spain, which forced passengers to return to Belgium.
The percentage of transfer passengers is around 15%. In this context, Brussels Airlines plays an important role in its African network with passengers connecting with Air Canada and United Airlines to European and African destinations. As such, this winter Brussels Airlines will operate up to 24 flights per week on the African network.
In September, 45 of the more than 60 passenger airlines were active at Brussels Airport, serving more than 110 destinations and operating more than 1,000 flights per week.
The airlines returning in October are British Airways and Rwandair. Among the intercontinental airlines, Air Canada, United Airlines, Emirates, Etihad, Qatar Airways, Hainan Airlines, Ethiopian and Rwandair are active. The restart of Delta Air Lines has been postponed to March 2021. All Nippon Airways will return to Brussels Airport this October as well, but initially with passenger aircraft that will only be carrying freight.
Cargo: fourth consecutive monthly increase in air freight
For the fourth consecutive month, air freight has seen an increase in volumes transported, up 18.9% compared with September 2019. Thanks to this very positive result, Brussels Airport continues to outperform global and European air freight growth. The main cause of the overall negative growth is still the halt in wide-body passenger flights, which severely limits capacity, with freight on passenger aircraft carrying 50% of the freight transported worldwide.
Express services is maintaining its growth compared with last year (+33.8%), while the increase in volumes in the full cargo sector (+88.8%) is accelerating the growth in air freight volumes. This compensates for the limited volumes on passenger flights.
The number of full cargo flights in September is well above the 2019 level, with a slight increase compared to the previous month. The number of additional flights by passenger aircraft used for freight-only flights remains constant. This does not, therefore, lead to an increase in night flights.
Freight transported by lorry is down again (-14.1%), yet the total volume of goods handled by the Brucargo logistics platform is still increasing, with a total increase of 11.4% to 56,748 tons.
Imports and exports are on the rise. As far as imports are concerned, traffic from Africa is doing particularly well. On the export side, Asia is highly valued.
The total number of flight movements decreased by -66.8% in September 2020 compared to September 2019, to 7,141 (compared to 21,533 in September 2019). The number of passenger flights decreased by 76.5%, while the number of cargo flights increased by 39.9%. The number of passengers per flight was 86.