Brussels lags behind as European airports reach 95 per cent of pre-pandemic levels

European airports welcomed around 2.3 billion passengers in 2023, which puts them at 95 per cent of 2019 levels, before the coronavirus pandemic. However, Brussels Airport is still 15.8 per cent below its 2019 level.

According to figures released by airport association ACI Europe on Thursday, passenger traffic last year was 19 per cent higher than in 2022. However, the figures show clear differences between airports. For example, many airports posted absolute passenger records, but most remained below pre-pandemic levels.

Growth was mainly driven by international passenger traffic (+21 per cent), which grew almost twice as fast as domestic passenger traffic (+11.7 per cent).

The top five airports in Europe last year were London Heathrow (79.2 million passengers, +28.5 per cent), Istanbul (76 million, +18.3 per cent), Paris CDG (67.4 million, +17.3 per cent), Amsterdam Schiphol (61.9 million, +17.9 per cent) and Madrid (60.2 million, +18.9 per cent).

Brussels Airport handled 22.2 million passengers in 2023. This was 15.8 per cent below the 2019 level before the Covid-19 pandemic, showing that Belgium's largest airport has yet to recover.


The departure hall at Brussels Airport © BELGA PHOTO NICOLAS MAETERLINCK

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