Nearly eight hundred and fifty thousand passengers passed through Brussels-Zaventem airport in the month of February, recording an increase of 400% compared to February of last year.
February was better than January (800,000 passengers), despite having three fewer days. This period also welcomed “more departing passengers than arriving due to the start of the Carnival holidays“, underlines the manager of the airport of the Belgian capital.
In the last month, the ten most visited countries were Spain, Italy, Germany, Portugal, Switzerland, Turkey, France, the United Arab Emirates, the United States and Morocco, recounts the airport. While the “city trips” to Madrid, Barcelona, Lisbon, Geneva or Istanbul have also had their little success. A total of 9,930 flight movements were recorded, compared to 15,517 in 2019.
Compared to February 2021, the full cargo segment recorded a slight decrease in volumes (-5%) due to temporary capacity constraints faced by some carriers. “The downturn in freight caused by the Chinese New Year influenced freight volumes at the beginning of the month, in line with historical trends,” explains its manager.
Since November 2020, more than one billion Covid-19 vaccines, i.e. 750 million for export, 250 million for import and millions more for correspondence, have passed through Brussels Airport to Europe and beyond. This makes the airport of the Belgian capital the most important pharmaceutical hub in Europe.
Many airlines participate in these transports: United Airlines, DHL Express, All Nippon Airways, Japan Airlines, Sichuan Airlines, Hainan Airlines, TUI fly, Singapore Airlines, TAP, Iberia, Lufthansa cargo, Emirates, Virgin Atlantic and Qatar Airways. Logistics partners, such as Expeditors, DHL Global Forwarding and Kuehne+Nagel, are also important to ensure the fluidity and safety of these transports.
Alongside vaccines, Brussels Airport has also recently been shipping pills against Covid-19. In terms of transport, while the process is quite similar to that of vaccines, the pills are even more sensitive to temperature variations. Not only does the Belgian airport have, in its cargo area, more than 35,000 m² of refrigerated warehouses, enabling it to meet the needs and specificities of pharmaceutical products that are very sensitive to temperature variations, but it is also the basis of the development of Airside Pharma Transporters, these mobile “fridges” which circulate on the tarmac and provide the link between warehouses and planes.
Today, almost 10% of the total volume of goods handled at Brussels Airport are pharmaceutical products. And there are around 500 employees of Brussels Airport who work daily to ensure the transport of vaccines and thus offer a secure and optimized chain for this very specific transport.