Belgium is currently experiencing a major international health crisis. This has significant consequences on the aviation industry, and no operator has been left untouched. Brussels South Charleroi Airport is no exception and has seen its traveller numbers decline as the crisis has deepened. In addition, many countries are closing their borders and no longer allowing travellers from Belgium onto their soil. As well as the reduction in passenger numbers, airlines have made the decision, one by one, to suspend their flights. As a result, Brussels South Charleroi Airport is recognising the situation and will be closing down access to its facilities to passengers and airlines as of Tuesday 24 March 2020 at 23.59 until Sunday 5 April 2020.
Since the end of February, the number of No Shows, in other words, passengers who are not showing up to board, has continued to rise. From an original average of 20%, the percentage of people not showing up has now risen to almost 90%.
Italy, the European country that has been most seriously affected, has experienced the greatest losses. Since the reduction in frequencies on many routes to destinations in the north of the country, the airline Ryanair finally decided to suspend all of its international flights to/from Italy at midnight on Friday 13 March 2020 until 8 April 2020. This total suspension follows on from the Italian Government’s decision to lock down its borders.
Other countries then closed their borders. Israel, Poland, Morocco and Turkey, to name but a few, have taken the decision to ban all flights from Belgium. This has led to a further reduction, and even the suspension of certain routes to/from Brussels South Charleroi Airport. Lastly, any travel abroad is now advised against, thus resulting in a growing number of No Shows on routes that are still running.
The situation is evolving hour by hour, and decisions by airlines to cancel their operations to and from Belgium have been announced as time has gone on. Given the suspension of the majority of flights offered by different airlines operating at Brussels South Charleroi Airport, the closure of several services available to passengers (catering, duty-free etc.), as well as the resulting socio-economic impact, the airport will be closing down access to its facilities to passengers and airlines as of Tuesday 24 March 2020 (23.59) until Sunday 5 April 2020, with the possibility that this will be extended depending on how the situation evolves. This closure does not however fully apply to maintenance, government and medical flights.
Now more than ever, the time has come for caution and vigilance. It is vital that we respect all the health measures in place in order to curb the epidemic, so that life can return to normal. With this in mind, Brussels South Charleroi Airport would like to appeal to everybody’s common sense and your responsibility for the good of the whole population and public health. It is essential that we remember to adopt best practices and convey positive messages, despite this complex situation. In these difficult times, solidarity and unity must prevail. All of the staff at Brussels South Charleroi Airport would like to express their support for every one of you. Together, acting responsibly and with discipline, we will get there, because every cloud has a silver lining.