Brussels Airport ends 2015 with new passenger record and 7% growth

January 12, 2016

Freight transport is growing strongly by 7.8%

Brussels Airport can look back on a year of strong growth. In 2015, the number of passengers grew by 7% on last year, with Brussels Airport receiving almost 23.5 million passengers. Freight transport through Brussels Airport in 2015 saw vigorous growth of nearly 8% compared with 2014, especially the full freighter segment and the express services.

"In 2015 Brussels Airport once again saw strong passenger growth of 7%, confirming the exceptional growth of 2014 (+15%).The growth stems from the huge success of the new services offered by Brussels Airlines, from the further development of the Star Alliance hub (with ANA, among other things) and from the strong growth of the low-cost segment. Our freight department saw exceptional growth of almost 8% in 2015, thanks to the arrival of 4 new cargo carriers. The growth is all the more striking because air freight transport in Europe looked bleak in the last 12 months," says Arnaud Feist, CEO of Brussels Airport Company.

"2016 is looking very promising, with the launch of several new destinations, by Brussels Airlines, among others, which is launching a direct flight to Toronto in March and will be increasing its flights to Africa in the course of the year, and by United Airlines which will be offering a second daily flight to New York this summer," continues Feist.

New passenger record
In 2015 Brussels Airport received 23,460,018 Passengers, an increase of 7% compared to 2014, and a new historic record for the airport.

The number of originating passengers increased by 5.6% compared to 2014, while the number of transfer passengers even rose by 14.8% on last year. This last figure confirms the growing importance of Brussels Airport as a hub in the Star Alliance network.

The biggest growth this year was recorded by Brussels Airlines, the low-cost carriers and on the long-haul flights. Ryanair has become the second largest airline at Brussels Airport, with approximately 1.8 million passengers in 2015.

In December last year the number of passengers rose by 4.7% compared to December 2014. Originating traffic at Brussels Airport grew by a modest 1.9% due to the after-
effects of the increase in the threat level in Brussels, while there was a sharp 17.5% growth in the number of transfer passengers compared with the same period in 2014. The passenger numbers for December 2014 were low because of the provincial and national strike days that month.

Freight Transport
Freight transport at Brussels Airport enjoyed positive growth of 7.8% in comparison with the previous year. That is an exceptionally strong result in comparison with other European airports where freight transport has grown only slightly or even decreased.

Belly cargo (freight carried on board passenger aircraft) remained status quo in comparison with 2014, but the express services (integrator) and especially full-freighter transport saw strong growth of 7.0% and 18.1% respectively compared to 2014. It should however be noted here that Ethiopian Cargo stopped flying at Brussels Airport in November because the company did not obtain the requisite air traffic rights in Belgium to continue its activities in Brussels. This resulted in full-freighter volumes dropping by 25% in the last two months of the year compared with 2014.

In December 2015 freight transport increased at Brussels Airport by 8.0% compared to December 2014. That growth is attributed to the sharp rise in the express services and in belly cargo. The rise can be explained by the low figures for 2014 when there was no freight transport on the provincial and national strike days.

Flight movements
The number of flight movements in 2015 rose by 3.4% compared to 2014. The growth rate is lower than the passenger growth (7.0%). That is because airlines are using larger aircraft and because the average seat load factor per aircraft has increased. The number of passengers per flight grew from 109 passengers in 2014 to 113 passengers in 2015.

The number of night slots used at Brussels Airport remained almost stable in 2015, with a minimal increase of 0.8% rising to 15,869 flights compared to 2014, and is significantly lower than the increase in the number of flight movements (+3.4%). The ceiling of 16,000 night slots per year remains therefore respected.

The number of flight movements in December 2015 rose by 8.2% compared to December 2014. The large increase can be explained by the low number of flight movements in December 2014 when many flights were cancelled as a result of the provincial and national strike days.


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