Brussels airport welcomed 405,000 passengers in May, the first increase in months, according to a press release.
That number is still 82% lower than May of 2019, before the coronavirus pandemic, but represents a light at the end of the tunnel for the airline industry following the lifting of the non-essential travel ban.
The aviation industry was hit particularly hard by the pandemic due to restrictions placed on international travel in order to control the spread of the virus.
Media outlets and experts say the health crisis is “the worst ever” in the history of the aviation industry, with many airlines declaring bankruptcy.
Although 405,000 passengers in a month is “a very poor number, it is already a significant improvement compared to last month (April 2021: 250,065 passengers),” according to Brussels Airport.
“This increase was possible due to the lift of the ban on non-essential travel and an increase in European destinations where passengers can travel to once again, as the number of Covid-19 infections falls.”
Cargo volume was also up, though that came as little surprise. The global pandemic had only a limited impact on air freight, Brussels Airport said.
Some of that cargo consists of vaccine shipments: “Covid-19 vaccine shipments to and from Brussels Airport also continue, with over 105 million of vaccines handled at the airport to this day, making Brussels Airport an important hub in the global distribution of Covid-19 vaccine.”
The total number of flight movements at the airport decreased by 67% in May this year with 7,021 movements compared to 21,055 in May 2019, pre-Covid.
The number of passenger flights decreased by 79%, and the average number of passengers per flight was 106.