Flight movements at Zaventem fell to 1971 levels during 2020

The coronavirus crisis has hit aviation hard and Belgium’s largest airport at Zaventem in Flemish Brabant is no exception. During 2020 air traffic to and from Brussels Airport fall to levels last seen back in 1971. The total number of flight movements at the airport fell to 95,812, down 59.14% on the 234,461 flight movements at the airport in 2019. The fall in flight movements was greatest among day flights than it was among night flights, many of of which carry air cargo rather than passengers. The figures come from the Federal Ombud’s Service responsible for the airport. 

During 2020 there were 84,680 daytime flight movements at Zaventem. This is 61% down on the 217,114 daytime flight movements recorded during 2019. Meanwhile, night flight movement fell to 11,132 and were down 36.31% on the 17,479-night flight movements at Zaventem during 2019. The fall in the number of night flight movements means that for the first time the airport has respected the ceiling of 16,000 night flights that had been imposed (but since ignored) in order to address the issue of noise nuisance.   

To get an even clearer picture of the impact the coronavirus crisis has been having on the airport we need to take a look at the monthly figures on flight movements. They show that in January and February of last year the number of flight movements was at a normal level. In March 2020,  during the second half of which the country was in lockdown, flight movements were down 41.70% on March 2019

During April 2020 there were just 1,628 daytime flight movements at Zaventem, compared with 18,283 during April the previous year. In May and June too flight movements were at just 20% of what they were during May and June 2019. In July and August 2020, the number of flight movements was down 60% on the same months the previous year.

The number of night flights was down by half in March 2020 with the greatest year-on-year fall being in October when the number of night flight movements was down by 66.54%.

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