Over 70 million passengers used Dutch airports, especially Schiphol

On Friday it will be the busiest day of the year at Schiphol. ()

Last year Dutch airports broke the 70 million mark in passengers transported for the first time, compared to 64.6 million passengers in 2015. Schiphol Airport accounted for the bulk of these passengers, according to figures Statistics Netherlands released on Tuesday.

In 2016 Schiphol processed a record number of 63.5 million passengers, an increase of 9 percent compared to 2015. The number of flights to and from Schiphol increased from 466 thousand in 2015 to 497 thousand in 2016. Of these 479 thousand were trade traffic - cross-country flights that carry passengers, cargo and mail. Schiphol is only allowed 500 thousand aircraft movements in trade traffic up until 2020. But that limit is likely to be reached this year. 

As in the previous two years, Eindhoven Airport saw the biggest growth in 2016, despite a temporary construction closure between May 30th and June 15th. Last year the second largest airport in the Netherlands processed 4.8 million passengers, 9.3 percent more than in 2015. 

The remaining 3 percent of travelers used Rotterdam The Hague airport, Maastricht Aachen airport and Groningen Eelde airport.

Dutch airports' revenue increased by 0.6 percent last year - the sixth consecutive year in a row that there was an increase. But Dutch airlines saw their revenue decrease with 2.6 percent. According to Statistics Netherlands, this can partly be attributed to competition from budget airlines, forcing other airlines to lower their ticket prices. 

The total number of flights to and from small airports like Drachten, Ameland and Lelystad, decreased slightly by 1.3 percent last year. Recreational flights - including things like private flights, sightseeing flights, parachute flights and glider towing flights - accounted for 52 percent of all aircraft movements at the small airports. Flight lessons accounted for 42 percent of the traffic. 

Cargo transport within Europe is increasingly important for the Netherlands. In the fourth quarter of 2015 over 9 percent of all cargo transported was transported to and from other European countries. In the fourth quarter of last year, that increased to over 16 percent.