Cargo still keeps Ostend-Bruges Airport alive, passenger traffic resumes


The June 2020 figures are still heavily influenced by COVID-19. For example, passenger numbers decreased by 96.1% to 1,871 compared to 47,667 in June 2019.

Under normal circumstances, spring and summer are peak months for the regional airport of Ostend. However, COVID-19 has changed that. In the second quarter, April through June, we saw passenger numbers drop to 2,791. This is 97.8% less compared to 192,419 passengers in the second quarter of 2019.

The number of movements declined less sharply by 15.5% to 2,112 in June. The limited decline is due to an increase in the number of cargo movements and the relaxation of the ban on small aircraft and flying schools in mid-May, as well as the lifting of the local flying ban. In addition, there was an increase in the number of business flights via NSAC (North Sea Aviation Center) since mid-June. A further recovery of this segment is expected in the coming months.

Ostend-Bruges Airport again recorded an increase in the number of cargo flights last month. For example, the traded volume rose to 5,666 tonnes. This is an increase of 165.5% compared to 2,133 tonnes in June 2019. We can also see an increase of 178% in the traded cargo volume over the period from April to June with 15,065 tonnes compared to 5,418 tonnes in the second quarter of 2019. In addition, the amount of cargo at the end of June is already equal to the whole of 2019. Despite the fact that the cargo market worldwide is still below normal, the airport was able to benefit from an increase in recent months. This trend is expected to continue in the coming weeks.

Last Friday, the first flight of TUI fly Belgium departed again from Ostend-Bruges Airport to Palma de Mallorca (Spain). The range of destinations will increase further in the following weeks. However, there will still be an impact on passenger numbers compared to 2019 as TUI fly offers a limited summer programme. We have noticed that passengers continue to have confidence in Ostend airport and TUI fly as all flights have already departed with full occupancy since the restart.