March and April Brussels Airport has welcomed 1.2 million and 1.1 million passengers respectively, a 29.1% decrease for March and a 46.5% decrease for April on last year. The cargo volume dropped by 20.9% in March on the corresponding month in 2015. For April a 1.5% decrease was recorded. These negative growth figures are the result of the temporary suspension of operations at Brussels Airport following the 22 March attacks in the departures hall. In the last weeks of April the airport recorded growth in both passenger and cargo traffic. Less than a month after the attacks the confidence of the passengers and (cargo) customers in Brussels Airport is being restored.
In March, Brussels Airport welcomed 1,214,485 passengers, down 29.1% on March 2015. In April 1,074,538 passengers used Brussels Airport, a 46.5% drop on April last year. These negative growth figures are the result of the temporary suspension of passenger flights between 22 March and 3 April.
In the period of 1 to 21 March, the number of passengers grew by 7.3% compared to the same period last year. Growth was due to the fact that several airlines, including Brussels Airlines, expanded their activities at Brussels Airport.
On 22 March commercial passenger flights were suspended until 3 April. After that, the airport was able to restart at 20% of its peak capacity for departing passengers. Passenger payload increased week by week to reach about 70% in the second half of April, which shows that passenger confidence is recovering.
Cargo volumes in March and April were also affected by the 22 March attacks. Full freighter traffic was resumed on 24 March, but because of the suspension of the passenger operations until 3 April, no cargo could be carried on board of passenger flights.
In March cargo traffic recorded a 20.9% drop on March of last year. The decrease in all three segments is attributed to the impact of the attacks of 22 March.
The full freighter segment and the integrator services quickly recovered and were again showing positive growth in April: up 29.8% in the full freighter segment and up 3.2% in the integrator segment compared to last year. In the full freighter segment, Brussels Airport welcomed back Ethiopian Airlines Cargo, which resumed and even expanded its activities at the airport on 26 March, as previously announced.
The 39.1% drop in belly cargo (cargo carried on board of passenger flights) can entirely be attributed to the limited number of long-haul flights in the months of March and April. In the course of April, flights to most destinations were resumed and Brussels Airport saw the belly cargo volume increase week by week.
Due to the exceptional circumstances, the number of movements at Brussels Airport for the months of March and April is hard to compare. In the period prior to the attacks (until 21 March) the number of movements increased slightly by 1.9% compared to the corresponding period of last year. This increase is about four times smaller than the increase in passenger numbers for this period (+7.3%).