Nearly 71 percent less air passenger traffic in 2020

© Hollandse Hoogte / Robin Utrecht
Last year, 23.6 million passengers travelled to and from the five main airports of the Netherlands. This number was 81.2 million in 2019. In Q4 2020, there were 3.6 million air passengers, i.e. a year-on-year decrease of 81.4 percent. The volume of air cargo declined in 2020 while the number of cargo flights went up. At 258 thousand, the total number of flights was down by more than half last year. Statistics Netherlands (CBS) reports this based on newly released figures.

Passengers carried to and from the 5 main airports
maand2019 (x million)2020 (x million)

Sharp drop in passenger traffic at all main airports

The measures adopted in March 2020 to combat the coronavirus crisis were clearly visible in all subsequent months: last year, the five main airports recorded a strong decline in the number of passengers handled. For example, 17.5 thousand passengers travelled via Groningen Airport, 90 percent less than in 2019. At Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, passenger traffic dropped by 70.9 percent to 20.9 million travellers. Eindhoven Airport, the largest airport after Schiphol, saw a decline of 68.9 percent to 2.1 million passengers. Rotterdam The Hague Airport handled 76.6 percent fewer travellers than in 2019 and at Maastricht Aachen this percentage stood at 81.4.

Passenger flights and passengers carried, 2020
luchthavenPassenger flights (year-on-year % change)Passengers (year-on-year % change)
Eindhoven Airport-56.1-68.8
Amsterdam Airport Schiphol-58.0-70.9
Rotterdam The Hague Airport-68.8-76.6
Maastricht Aachen Airport-71.7-81.4
Groningen Airport Eelde-85.0-90.0

Due to a lower aircraft occupancy rate, the number of passengers at all five airports decreased more rapidly than the number of flights.
Despite the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, most passengers in 2020 flew to the same countries as in 2018 and 2019. Last year, there was slightly more travel (1.5 percent) to and from EU countries, with the top three most popular countries remaining the same (the United Kingdom, Spain and Italy). Among non-EU European countries, the top 3 also remained the same in these three years; most passengers flew to Turkey, Switzerland and Norway.


Less cargo carried, more cargo flights

The COVID-19 measures have had less impact on the volume of transported goods than on the number of passengers. In 2020, air cargo volumes declined by 6.2 percent to 1.6 million tonnes. Schiphol processed over 1.4 million tonnes of goods, representing a decline of 8.2 percent relative to 2019. At the airport of Maastricht, the only other cargo-handling airport, the volume increased by 22 percent to 136 thousand tonnes.

While air cargo volumes declined, the number of cargo flights rose by 70.9 percent. Whereas in 2018 and 2019 an average of 59 percent of cargo was carried by cargo flights and 41 percent by passenger flights, these shares were 74 and 26 percent respectively in 2020.

Cargo flights at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol and Maastricht Aachen Airport
maand2018 (x 1,000)2019 (x 1,000)2020 (x 1,000)