The coronavirus reduces the number of passengers to a minimum in the month of April. That is, last month, 17,000 passengers transited through Brussels Airport. It’s a huge difference from the 2.3 million passengers in April 2019. Thousands of compatriots returned home via Brussels Airport, among the regular flights and the 14 repatriation flights from our airport. In April, although there was a 13.7% decrease in freight transport compared to the same month last year — mainly due to the disappearance of freight on board passenger aircraft — there was a sharp 52.1% increase of full cargo.
Freight remains key to the supply of our country in these difficult times and allows the transport of essential goods, medicines, medical products and foodstuffs. The total number of flights dropped by 88%.
While passenger traffic is slow, air freight is running at full capacity at Brussels Airport, Arnaud Feist, CEO of Brussels Airport Company, explains. “Due to the loss of capacity on passenger aircraft, the demand for full cargo is greater. Some passenger aircraft are only flying to carry cargo. Thanks to air freight, we are able to obtain and supply essential goods, medicines, medical products and food quickly. At the same time, air freight allows our companies and industry to continue to operate (e.g. the pharmaceutical industry and the export of pharmaceuticals)“.
Cargo: the loss of cargo on passenger aircraft has been partly offset by full cargo
The freight volume at Brussels Airport decreased by 13.7% in April 2020 compared to April 2019. This decrease is the result of the disappearance of passenger flights on which cargo was also carried. As a result, freight on board passenger flights decreased by 91%.
However, full cargo shows a strong increase of 52.1% compared to April last year and therefore more than compensates for the loss of freight capacity on passenger aircraft. On the one hand, these additional flights are carried by full cargo aircraft (in particular via new companies such as Suparna and Amerijet), but also by passenger aircraft which are only used for freight transport (mainly in the hold, and very exceptionally in the cabin). These additional transactions are mainly carried out during the day.
Express services remained stable in April with a slight decline of 0.6%.