2014 was a year of exceptional growth for Brussels Airport. Growth was recorded in all segments: passenger and cargo flights. Moreover, the airport broke its historical passenger record of 2000. In 2014 Brussels Airport handled 21,933,190 passengers: 2.8 million more than in 2013.
“Never before Brussels Airport welcomed as many passengers as we did in 2014. Growth was recorded in all segments. It is clear that the new approach we have been adopting since a few years is bearing fruit. The great performance we put down in 2014 could not be achieved without the efforts and commitment of our staff and the collaboration with our partners. And not to be overlooked: the growth of the airport has a considerable positive impact on employment and economic growth in our country”, says Arnaud Feist, CEO of Brussels Airport.
“Brussels Airport is now looking forward to the next milestone in its history: the opening of the new Connector building in the spring which will allow us to provide our customers with an even better service and experience”, Arnaud Feist continues.
Strong growth in number of passengers: +14.6%
In 2014 Brussels Airport handled a total of 21,933,190 passengers, an increase with 2.8 million passengers compared to 2013 (+ 14.6%). Growth was recorded in all passenger segments, with Brussels Airlines, the low cost carriers and intercontinental traffic in particular performing strongly.
The major landmarks for Brussels Airport in 2014 were the new routes operated by Vueling, the arrival of Ryanair, Brussels Airlines’ new routes and commercial strategy and the arrival of Emirates.
Transfer traffic even grew by more than 20% in 2014 which confirms the increasingly important role of Brussels Airport as Star Alliance hub. Due to the large offer of destinations – a strategy which Brussels Airport has pursued for many years – our airport can fully play its role as central airport with convenient connecting flights to other airports which strengthens its position within the Star Alliance. It also makes our country more attractive for foreign investors and tourists.
December 2014 ended this exceptional year for Brussels Airport with a strong growth of 13.2% compared to the corresponding month in 2013. Growth in December and for the whole of 2014 was slowed down however by the regional and national strike days of 8 and 15 December. Without this impact Brussels Airport would have easily exceeded the 22 million passenger mark.
Higher passenger payloads and a limited increase in the number of flights
The number of flights for the whole of 2014 increased by 6.9% on 2013, a modest growth compared to the 14.6% growth in passengers.
Compared to 2000, we find that the number of flights has decreased by no less than 30%: from 326,050 flights in 2000 to 231,528 flights in 2014. The major trends are that the airlines use larger aircraft than they did in 2000 and that the passenger load factor increased. The average number of passengers per flight increased by over 50% going from 71 persons per flight in 2000 to 108 in 2014.
In December 2014 passenger number grew strongly (+13.2%) with the number of flights increasing only slightly (+3.6%).
Cargo growth at Brussels Airport outperforms rest of Europe
2014 was a year of strong growth for cargo transport at Brussels Airport. With a 5.6% growth Brussels Airport is clearly outperforming most other airports in Europe.
The significant increase in “belly cargo”, i.e. cargo carried on board of passenger flights, goes hand in hand with the growth in passenger numbers. Both segments are reinforcing each other with cargo customers being offered a larger range of destinations served.
Over the past twelve months, Brussels Airport took several strategic initiatives to stimulate cargo traffic, including the IATA certification for the transport of temperature sensitive pharmaceuticals – a world first – and the significant investments in the Brucargo infrastructure of the past three years.
In the month of December 2014 cargo traffic at Brussels Airport was comparable to 2013 (-0.6%). Due to the impact of the strike days of 8 and 15 December the cargo segment did not show any growth, contrary to the other months of 2014.