Airports - passengers

  • 74% fewer passengers in 2020 at Brussels Airport

    The national airport in Zaventem (Brussels airport) served almost 7 million departing or landing passengers in 2020. 

    Brussels airport is by far the largest of the 4 airports in the Flemish Region. Together the 4 airports counted 7 million passengers in 2020. 


    In 2020, the number of passengers at the national airport decreased by 74% compared to 2019. This was the result of the COVID-19 crisis, which made travel impossible or unattractive for much of the year. Also in the past, the evolution of the number of passengers had some kinks. In 2002, the number of passengers had taken a dive. This was mainly the result of Sabena (the former state-owned national airline) being declared bankrupt. The years that followed witnessed a steady growth in the number of passengers almost year on year. With one exception, 2009, when there were markedly fewer travellers opting to travel by air as a result of the economic downturn. 2016 too saw a fall in the number of passengers as a result of the terrorist attacks of 22 March 2016. The airport was closed for a brief period.

  • Other 3 airports jointly account for 200,000 passengers

    The 3 Flemish regional airports are distinctly smaller in size than the national airport. Together they account for several hundred thousand passengers. Ostend - Bruges Airport is known especially for its charter flights. Antwerp Airport specialises more as an intra-European business and tourist airport. Kortrijk – Wevelgem wants to develop as a regional business airport. 

    These 3 airports also experienced a sharp drop in passenger numbers in 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. The number of passengers processed at the airports of Ostend - Bruges and Antwerp saw a marked rise in 2016, when both airports took over a number of flights from Brussels Airport, which was shut down for a while on account of the attacks of 22 March 2016. Over the years (2017-2019) that followed, the two airports continued to welcome a larger number of passengers than in the years before 2016.

  • Brussels Airport in top 20 European airports

    In 2018, Brussels Airport held the 15th position on the list of the biggest airports in the European Union. Airports Charles De Gaulle (Paris), Schiphol (Amsterdam) and Frankfurt Main counted the most passengers in 2018.



Brussels Airport: BRUtrends – statistics on airport activities 
Antwerp Airport: Statistics 
Ostend - Bruges Airport: Statistics 
Kortrijk - Wevelgem Airport: News  
Eurostat: Number of passengers at the main airports per country 


Passenger: a person is counted as a passenger at a given airport when he departs from, arrives at or spends time in transit at that airport.  

Charter flights:  flights that are not operated according to a regular schedule, but are specifically commissioned by one or more customers who want a group of people to travel together. The opposite of charter flights are scheduled flights which, unlike charter flights, are operated to a regular, pre-programmed timetable between two or more destinations throughout the year. 

Publication date

31 August 2021

Next update

March 2022

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