56 percent fewer passengers at Dutch airports in March

© Aerovista Luchtfotografie / Shutterstock.com
In Q1 2020, the number of passengers travelling to and from the five national airports declined by over 20 percent on the same quarter last year. Whereas the number of arrivals and departures was still fairly stable or increased slightly in January and February, it declined by 56 percent year-on-year in March, following the Dutch government’s implementation of measures against COVID-19. In March, cargo transport was down by 18 percent year-on-year. This is evident from new figures released by Statistics Netherlands (CBS).

Passenger traffic development at the 5 Dutch airports
LuchthavenJanuary (year-on-year % change)February (year-on-year % change)March (year-on-year % change)
Rotterdam 17.99.1-54.3

At four out of the five airports, passenger numbers dropped by at least 50 percent in March 2020, relative to one year previously. The relatively small airport of Maastricht operated flights to two new destinations in March, resulting in more passenger traffic here compared to March 2019.

57 percent fewer flights to the UK

The majority of outbound passengers fly to and from the United Kingdom. In March, this number was down by 57 percent year-on-year to 416 thousand; 95 percent of these passengers travelled via Schiphol Airport. The most popular country of destination at the other four airports was Spain (both March 2019 and March 2020). Whereas there were still 622 thousand passengers travelling between the Netherlands and Spain in March 2019, this had dropped by 53 percent to 290 thousand one year later.

The impact of the various government measures became clearly visible in the second half of March. Whereas the year-on-year decline in passenger arrivals and departures stood at 25 percent over the first 15 days of the month, this had increased to 84 percent decline over the latter half of the month. Passenger traffic to Italy - the first country in Europe faced with the coronavirus outbreak - was down by 67 percent in the first half of March year-on-year. In the second half, there was no air travel to this country at all. Passenger transport to and from other popular destinations collapsed as well in the second half of March.

Dutch passenger traffic development by origin or destination, 2020 relative to 2019
Land1 to 15 March (year-on-year % change)16 to 31 March (year-on-year % change)
United Kingdom-24.5-87.4
United States-24.9-82.2

Less rapid decline in cargo transport

The total volume of cargo transported from Dutch airports decreased by almost 18 percent in March relative to the same month last year. Cargo transport was not impacted by the COVID-19 measures. The number of cargo flights fell by over 1 percent in March this year, while the volume of cargo carried on these flights fell by over 5 percent. As 32 percent of all cargo is transported on passenger flights, the decline in total cargo shipments is higher. The decline in the volume of cargo carried on passenger flights amounted to more than 35 percent.

Cargo transport by type of flight
   Passenger flights (year-on-year % change)Cargo flights (year-on-year % change)