Ostend-Bruges Airport sees passenger numbers rise again in 2023

Over the past year, Ostend-Bruges Airport welcomed 386,000 passengers, a 4.6% increase compared to 2022. In 2023, the airport also took significant steps in cargo transport, General Aviation, and innovation. “Amidst global challenges, we continue to prove the economic value our airport provides every day,” says CEO Eric Dumas.

In 2023, the airport welcomed 386,387 passengers, a slight increase of 4.6% compared to 2022. “We’ve had a successful period,” says CEO Eric Dumas. “In 2023, we reintroduced Antalya to our flight offerings, positively impacting passenger numbers. This year, we are reintroducing Egyptian destinations Sharm El Sheikh and Hurghada to the flight schedule.”

Travelers in 2024 will have a choice of 14 destinations, with the airport actively working to further expand the number of destinations.

Investing in cargo activities

Regarding cargo transport, the airport reports a cargo volume of 33,000 tons, significantly lower than 2022 (51,000 tons). “After several exceptionally strong years in cargo transport, global economic developments led to a decrease in demand for air freight. The increase in passenger flights also resulted in fewer flights with only cargo on board,” explains CEO Eric Dumas. “This decline in Ostend is further influenced by the sudden departure of Qatar Airways Cargo in April 2023.”

Despite this expected downturn, the airport continues to invest in its cargo activities. In 2023, the new Versluys cargo warehouse of 12,000 m2 was completed, offering new possibilities for the further development of cargo activities. Currently, the airport is in discussions with various parties to further exploit this space in 2024, strengthening the airport’s position as a cargo airport.

Hub for humanitarian aid

Over the past year, the airport played a crucial role in facilitating flights with humanitarian aid. More than 20 humanitarian missions departed from Ostend to destinations such as Turkey, Libya, and Gaza. The airport demonstrates its commitment to international relief efforts and provides its facilities to quickly and efficiently respond to urgent humanitarian needs. These collaborations have further positioned the airport as a crucial hub for emergency aid worldwide.

General Aviation and innovation

The past year has seen significant progress in General Aviation (i.e., all non-scheduled commercial civilian aviation, ranging from business flights to recreational aviation). In 2022, twelve new hangars for General Aviation were inaugurated, with 75% of them sold or rented by the end of 2023. These facilities have not only strengthened existing activities but also attracted new players in the aviation sector. “In line with our focus on innovation, we have entered into a collaboration with Vives and Drone Dock, addressing the growing possibilities of drone technology and contributing to the offshore wind energy project of DIOL,” adds Eric Dumas.

Temporary closure between January 25 and March 27 for runway and taxiway renovation

From January 25 to March 27, the airport will be closed for renovation works on the runway and taxiway. This temporary closure allows LOM, the infrastructure manager of the airport, to improve the infrastructure and ensure the safety of all operations. The renovation of the runway and taxiway will particularly result in a significant reduction in noise and CO2 emissions for larger aircraft, as these planes will require less engine power. “From late March, we will be ready to welcome our passengers again and look forward to a successful continuation of our operations,” concludes Eric Dumas.