The activities at Ostend-Bruges airport mainly focused on cargo flights and the restart of light aviation. Light aviation has been applicable again since mid-May and this includes both local flights and training flights.
Last month, there was continued demand for additional cargo charter flights. Ostend Airport can still take advantage of this trend. For example, the traded volume increased by 168.6% from 1,439 tonnes in May 2019 to 3,866 tonnes in May 2020. Looking at the cargo volume already carried in the first five months of 2020, this is 95.5% more than the same period last year.
Market demand for additional cargo flights currently seems to be stabilising. Nevertheless, we assume that the May trend will also continue in June.
The number of passengers travelling through Ostend Airport was still very limited. For example, we saw the number of passengers decrease by 98.5% to 635 in May 2020. In May 2019, there were still 41,350 passengers who left for holiday destinations via Ostend airport. We can currently see a decline of 62% over the period of January through May compared to the same period last year.
The tourism sector seems to be preparing for a restart in the next few months. Ostend airport is now fully preparing for the operational restart via an internal working group, in complete safety and in close cooperation with the Mobility cabinets, at both Flemish and Federal level. Management therefore strongly believes the small scale of Ostend airport is a major asset since measures such as social distancing can be guaranteed much more easily. Ostend Airport is also looking carefully at a possible restart of the scheduled services during the summer. Nevertheless, this restart may be limited by a reduced flight schedule.