Caribbean Netherlands: nearly 60 percent more air passengers in 2021

Aircraft on Bonaire.
© Staysly Goilo Photography
In 2021, more than 290 thousand travellers passed through the airports of Bonaire, St Eustatius and Saba. This represents an increase of almost 60 percent on 2020, yet still a 36-percent decrease compared to 2019 (when it stood at over 457 thousand). With 17.4 thousand air transport movements to and from the three airports, the number of arrivals and departures rose by over 38 percent relative to 2020, but was still approximately one third below the number of flights in 2019. Statistics Netherlands (CBS) reports this on the basis of newly released figures.

Air passenger arrivals and departures in the Caribbean Netherlands
maand2019 (x 1,000)2020 (x 1,000)2021 (x 1,000)

More than 209 thousand travellers flew to and from the Caribbean Netherlands during the second half of 2021. This is three times as many as during the second half of 2020, but 15 thousand less than two years previously. With almost 40 thousand air passengers, December was the busiest month of 2021.

Air transport movements to and from the Caribbean Netherlands
kwartaal  Bonaire (x 1,000)St Eustatius (x 1,000)Saba (x 1,000)

Bonaire fourth busiest airport in the Netherlands

Flamingo Airport on Bonaire receives almost 90 percent of all air passengers in the Caribbean Netherlands. In 2021, almost 260 thousand passengers passed through its terminals, i.e. 62 percent more than in 2020. Passing through the airports of St Eustatius and Saba were 15.2 thousand and 15.3 thousand passenger respectively, representing a respective year-on-year increase of 15.6 and 68.8 percent. The busiest months in terms of passenger transport were July through December. On Bonaire, these months accounted for over 73 percent of all transported passengers; on St Eustatius and Saba, 60 and 66 percent respectively.
In both 2020 and 2021, Flamingo Airport on Bonaire was the fourth largest airport of the Netherlands in terms of passenger transport, after Amsterdam Schiphol Airport, Eindhoven Airport and Rotterdam The Hague Airport.

Over half of all air transport movements were to Bonaire

Of the three overseas Dutch airports, Flamingo Airport on Bonaire has the highest number of air transport movements. In the period 2019 - 2021, each year approximately 60 percent of all flights to and from the Caribbean Netherlands went via Bonaire. Of the other flights in this period, 24 percent were to or from F.D. Roosevelt Airport on St Eustatius and the remaining less than 16 percent to or from Juancho E. Yrausquin Airport on Saba.

Air passenger arrivals and departures on Bonaire, Saba and St Eustatius
eilandQ1 (x 1,000)Q2 (x 1,000)Q3 (x 1,000)Q4 (x 1,000)
Bonaire 2019102.894.489.697.6
Saba plus
St Eustatius 2019
Bonaire 202093.54.135.926.9
Saba plus
St Eustatius 2020
Bonaire 202129.440.590.0100.0
Saba plus
St Eustatius 2021

Most flights in latter half of 2021

In July 2020 there was no flight ban towards the Caribbean Netherlands and the number of arrivals and departures on Bonaire was on the increase. Bonaire was also the largest destination for international flights after 15 May 2021, when the coronavirus measures were eased. In the second half of 2021 more than 6.4 thousand flights arrived on Bonaire, representing a 80-percent increase relative to the second half of 2020. The largest increase (114 percent) occurred on Saba with 1.9 thousand flights in the second half of 2021, one thousand more flights than one year previously.