Best year since 1966 for Ostend-Bruges Airport (+8.9% over 2018)


Breaking almost all monthly records in passenger numbers is the 2019 achievement in Ostend. With the exception of 2 months (March and April), the record number of travellers was broken month after month. A total of 457,423 passengers found their way through the airport of Ostend; this is exactly 8.9% more compared to 2018 (419,865 passengers).

Just like in previous years, the number of passengers grew considerably.

The record number in passenger numbers is among other things the result of the launch on 7 March 2019 of the successful new scheduled service Ostend-Moscow. From the high booking numbers, we could deduce that the route was very appreciated. Unfortunately, this route was temporarily suspended just before the summer. The global and persistent problems of B-737 Max aircraft within the fleet of Pobeda, the subsidiary of Aeroflot, are at the basis of the abrupt termination of these flights. As such, they do not have sufficient aircraft to serve their entire network. A possible restart in the future is not excluded.

Furthermore, we can state that the higher load factor per plane at almost all TUI fly destinations also contributes to these growth figures. The strongholds, in particular, remain the Spanish Costas and the Canary Islands.

In addition, the continued good football rhythm at European level of various Belgian top clubs led to an increase in the number of passengers.

Finally, there is an increasing number of movements within the “general aviation” segment. The percentage increased to 9% in 2019 of the total number of movements, i.e. 3% more than in 2018. And so logically also the number of passengers within this segment increased. The opening of the brand new NSAC business terminal is one of the reasons for this increase in the number of movements and the number of passengers. With its beautiful infrastructure and its excellent range of services, NSAC can in this way fully respond to the high expectations of its clients. In 2020, the airport expects further growth of this pillar alongside passenger flights and the cargo business.

The volume of cargo shipments was under great pressure; not only in Ostend but also worldwide.

The volume was 10.7% below that of 2018 and Ostend closed with 24,757 tonnes. With this, the airport of Ostend follows the general trends of the cargo sector. But the airport noticed a turn in the last weeks of the past year and hopes that this trend will continue in 2020. The number of tonnes transported in December, 5,630 tonnes, was not only 13.8% more than December 2018, but December 2019 is also the best cargo month since 2013. A boost to end the year on cargo level.

With the arrival of a new cargo handler, the Italian company BCUBE, Ostend now has three handlers with Aviapartner and Fenair to optimise the services of its cargo customers.
With the arrival of the BCUBE and the recent official opening of the spectacular dismantling hall of the company Aerocircular, the long-awaited reopening of “apron 1” at the airport, therefore, marks a new milestone.

Passenger aircraft are professionally dismantled at Aerocircular. Every component, up to the last screw, is recycled. And each of those components gets a new use; either as a spare part in aviation or as a new application of an existing part or as secondary raw material. Aerocircular is therefore not only unique because of the economic aspect of the business model, it also focuses on sustainability. The activities of Aerocircular take place within the circular economy.

Marcel Buelens, CEO International Airport Ostend-Bruges:

Not only do we shock our owners – the Egis group – with these 457,423 passengers we have also set the best year since 1966 with almost 5,000 extra passengers, 53 years later. Only 1965 with 466,427 and 1964 with 485,534 passengers do even better. A nice challenge! Furthermore, we must continue to build on this economic engine for our region and for Flanders with our partners. A very special thank you to our people for the hard work, dedication and continuing to believe in a bright future at the airport in Ostend. Thanks also to the Board of Directors of the LOM, the city council of Ostend and Middelkerke for the support and positive approach of the new Mobility Cabinet, including Minister Lydia Peeters.

Thursday, January 2, 2020


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