61 million air passengers in 2022, quarter fewer than before pandemic

Baggage is loaded on passenger planes at Schiphol Airport
© CBS / Nikki van Toorn
In 2022, altogether 61.3 million air passengers travelled to and from the five main airports of the Netherlands. This is more than twice as many as in 2021, but still a quarter fewer than in 2019. The number of commercial flights to and from these airports stood at 463 thousand. This is a 53-percent increase on 2021, but a decrease of over 18 percent relative to 2019. Statistics Netherlands (CBS) reports this based on newly released figures.

Passenger traffic to and from the five Dutch airports
Maand2019 (x million)2020 (x million)2021 (x million)2022 (x million)

August was the busiest month in 2022, with 44.9 thousand flights. That month also saw the highest number of passengers travelling to and from the Netherlands: 6.4 million. The busiest day was Monday 1 August, when a total of 221 thousand passengers passed through the terminals of Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, Rotterdam The Hague Airport, Eindhoven Airport, Maastricht Aachen Airport and Groningen Airport Eelde.

Increasing seat occupancy rates

Besides the passenger numbers, the number of passenger flights also showed an increase. The average aircraft occupancy rate rose as well. In 2022, seat occupancy on passenger flights was 76 out of 100. In 2019, this was 81 out of 100. In 2020 and 2021, the average occupancy rate amounted to 57 and 58 percent, respectively.

Almost 3/4 of passengers travelled within Europe

Of the 61.3 million passengers who flew to and from the Netherlands in 2022, more than 74 percent travelled within Europe. Passengers to and from Spain (8.4 million) and to and from the United Kingdom (6.7 million) constituted the largest share. Together, they accounted for 24.7 percent of the total number of air passengers carried. In 2019, it was still the other way around; most air passengers flew to and from the United Kingdom (11.3 million) and to and from Spain (8.7 million). Among countries outside Europe, the United States was the most popular. In 2020 and 2021, travellers stayed closer to home and travelled mainly within Europe.

Air passengers by origin and destination
jaarEurope, EU (%)Europe, non-EU1) (%)North and Central America (%)South America (%)Asia (%)Africa (%)
1)For the purpose of comparability, the UK was counted among 'Europe, non-EU' in each consecutive year.

1.5 million passengers to and from Barcelona-El Prat

The majority of passengers travelling through Dutch airports in 2022 flew between the Netherlands and Barcelona-El Prat. In 2019, passenger traffic was highest to and from London Heathrow (1.7 million passengers).

Passenger traffic to and from Dutch airports, top 10 destinations in 2022
 2022 (x million)2021 (x million)2020 (x million)2019 (x million)
Barcelona, El Prat1.
London, Heathrow1.
Malaga, Pablo Ruiz Picasso1.
Lisbon, Portela1.
Madrid, Barajas1.
Copenhagen, Kastrup1.
Rome, Fiumicino - L. da Vinci1.
Alicante, El Altet0.
Paris, Charles de Gaulle0.

Less air cargo transportation

In 2022, air cargo volumes declined by nearly 14 percent year on year, to 1.5 million tonnes. Both Amsterdam Airport Schiphol and Maastricht Aachen Airport - the airports where cargo is handled - transported less cargo: -13.8 and -15.5 percent, respectively. In 2019, air cargo amounted to 1.7 million tonnes.