Dutch airports saw 98% drop in passenger numbers

Planes parked at Schiphol, 25 March 2020
Planes parked at Schiphol, 25 March 2020Politiehelikopter, @DePolitieheliTwitter

In April nearly 134 thousand passengers traveled to, from, or through the five national airports of the Netherlands, a decrease of 98 percent compared to April last year, Statistics Netherlands reported on Wednesday. Freight transport decreased by 25 percent to 103 thousand tons transported weight. The decreases are largely attributed to restrictions in place to curb the spread of the coronavirus. 

The coronavirus pandemic resulted in many countries closing their borders or implementing major restrictions on travel and freight transport in March. In April this resulted in the number of flights in commercial traffic decreasing by over 90 percent compared to a year earlier ot 4,800 flights. And passenger flights to and from the five national airports came to an almost complete halt. The average occupancy per flight plummeted from 82 percent last April to 29 percent this April.

Last month 126 thousand passengers traveled through Schiphol Airport and nearly 8 thousand through Eindhoven Airport, compared to 6.1 million and 606 thousand travelers respectively a year ago. Passenger transport at Rotterdam The Hague, Maastricht Aachen, and Groningen Eelde was at a complete standstill in April.

The effect of the coronavirus measures is less pronounced on freight transport. Freight transport by air in the Netherlands happens about 90 percent via Schiphol and the rest via Maastricht Aachen Airport. In April, 103 thousand tons of freight moved through these airports, compared to 126 thousand in the same month last year. 

Air freight transport does not only take place via specific cargo flights. Goods are often also transported on passenger flights. Compared to April last year, cargo flights in April this year carried 19 percent more cargo, while freight transport on passenger flights decreased by 84 percent.