February results at Brussels Airport severely impacted by national 24 hours strike (-0.5%)

Over 1.6 million passengers visited Brussels Airport in February 2019 – a slight 0.5% decrease on the same month last year. This decrease is down to the national strike which took place on 13 February, which made air traffic in Belgium impossible for 24 hours. Had it not been for this strike action, February would have seen an increase in both passenger and cargo traffic.


In February, Brussels Airport welcomed 1,640,893 passengers, i.e. a 0.5% drop (8,000 passengers) compared to the same February 2018. Passenger numbers were impacted negatively by the national strike of 13 February, which made air traffic in Belgium impossible for 24 hours. Brussels Airport lost an estimated 60,000 passengers as a result of the strike.

Originating passenger numbers fell by 0.7% compared with February 2018. Despite the strike, transit passenger numbers increased by 1.5%.

The long-haul segment recorded a 3% increase thanks to the new routes launched in 2018. However, growth remains significantly below that of previous months as a result of the national strike.

In the short-haul segment, the airlines seeing the largest increase in passenger numbers were Iberia, Aeroflot, Air Europa, Aegean and Air France.


In February 2019, the freight volume at Brussels Airport totalled 52,169 tonnes, down 2.1% on February 2018. The national strike of 13 February impacted negatively here too, by an estimated 5%. Had it not been for the strike, February would have been a good month for the freight segment at Brussels Airport, particularly given the downward trend which the sector is seeing in recent months across Europe.

Despite the strike, belly cargo increased by 6.6% compared to February 2018 due to the new long-haul routes that were launched in 2018. Trucked air freight rose by 13.1%.

On the other hand, freight on board of full-freighter aircraft dropped by 13.2% compared to the same period last year.

Integrator services too recorded a decrease in volume (-12.5%).

Flight movements

February 2019 saw a 5.8% fall in flight movements, which can be largely explained by the national strike of 13 February. The number of passengers per flight increased by 4.2%, going from 118 to 123.

Brussels Airport, 15 March 2019


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