Best month of April in 8 years for air cargo
This April, the number of passengers at Brussels Airport broke yet another record. Over 2.1 million passengers travelled via Brussels Airport last month. Continuing the trend seen in recent months, air cargo traffic too rose sharply by just under 12% compared against the same month in 2015. These strong results, both for passenger and cargo traffic, are threatened by the insecurity regarding the tightened Brussels’ noise limits for aircraft.
Since November 2016 Brussels Airport is month after month recording strong growth in passenger figures, even compared to record year 2015. Cargo traffic too is performing very well: last month we recorded the highest cargo volume for a month of April since 2009. Because of the ongoing uncertainty regarding the Brussels’ noise limits and the lack of a stable legal framework and a permanent solution, the current growth and further development of the airport are in danger. The winners of this Kafkaesque situation are the airports in the neighbouring countries.
Brussels Airport Company once again urges all parties concerned to start work on a long-term solution for the airport.
In April of this year, 2,145,790 passengers departed from or landed at Brussels Airport. Compared against record year 2015, this represents a 6.8% rise in the number of passengers and a new record for the month of April. The number of originating passengers has gone up by 2.3% on 2015, whereas the number of transfer passengers has soared by 31.2% compared against April 2015.
The biggest growth is seen at Brussels Airlines, both on intra-European and on intercontinental flights, and Ryanair. For long-haul flights, the loss of Jet Airways has been fully made up for, mainly due to Brussels Airlines which opened a new route to Toronto in spring 2016 as well as a new route to Mumbai in spring 2017.
With a cargo volume of close to 46,000 tonnes, Brussels Airport has recorded its best month of April since 2009, when the number of night slots at Brussels Airport was reduced from 25,000 to 16,000.
Air cargo traffic at the airport went up by 11.9% compared against 2015*. The increase is due to the strong 32.9% growth in the full-cargo segment driven by the arrival of Ethiopian Cargo which set up shop at Brussels airport in March 2016, and the 5.4% rise in express services, compared against April 2015. Belly cargo on passenger planes remained stable in April 2017 (-0.3%) compared against the same month in 2015.
The growth percentage for the full-freighter transport is below the European average, with growth only being achieved on existing routes. Because of the ongoing uncertainty regarding the Brussels’ noise fines, Brussels Airport is unable to realise the growth opportunities on the market, not even with its own customers, this in contrast with the airports in our neighbouring countries that have no trouble attracting new cargo volumes.
The number of flight movements is 3.9% down on April 2015, as a result of the decrease in the number of non-commercial flights such as private flights, and to a lesser extent because of the fall in the number of passenger flights.
The slight decline in the number of passenger flights (-2.9%) and the rise in the number of passengers (+6.8%) mean the passenger load factor has risen by a spectacular 11%, going up from an average of 113 passengers on board in April 2015 to an average of 125 passengers on board in April 2017.
(*) Traffic figures for the month of April 2017 are compared against the figures of record year 2015 at Brussels Airport. As a result of last year’s attacks, the figures for 2016 are not representative, which means any comparison would present a distorted image.