While the aviation sector worldwide was experiencing a nightmarish 2020, Liege Airport was one of the few airports in Europe and throughout the world to perform well.
Liege’s specialisation in the transport of goods (full cargo) made it a leading player, an essential link in the fight against the pandemic. The airport saw a 24% increase in the tonnage passing through the airport compared to 2019, going from 902,480 to 1,120,643 tonnes.
Passenger traffic, as in all airports, decreased sharply, with 44,487 travellers in 2020 compared to 170,737 in 2020, a 74% drop.
The total number of aircraft movements remained stable with 40,300 flights (landings and take-offs) in 2020, compared to 39,886 flights in 2019. The growth of our cargo activities was in fact offset by the decrease in passenger flights, training flights and business aviation.
The total number of cargo flights increased by 10.7% (34,264 flights in 2020 compared to 30,934 in 2019). This growth is reflected in an increase in daytime flights. Finally, the increase in tonnage entailed an increase in the number of jumbo jets.
“2020 was the worst year for the global airline industry,” said Luc Partoune, CEO of Liege Airport. “COVID-19 had a significant impact on passenger transport. Alternatives to the transport of goods in the holds of passenger planes had to be found. There was a lot of pressure on full cargo planes, which are our speciality. We also transported large quantities of medical equipment to fight against the pandemic (masks, respirators, protection kits, etc.) so much so that we became the hub for the World Food Programme.
“The lockdown also had a direct effect on consumption patterns, which is reflected by a boom in the e-commerce sector, a sector which has become much more important to us as we have handled over 500 million packages this year, compared to just over 320 million in 2019,” Partoune added.