A total of 2,651,938 passengers travelled through Copenhagen Airport in May 2019. This year, the figure was 40,118 - equivalent to a drop of 98.5 per cent.
"The dramatic plunge in the numbers of departures and travellers has paralysed Danish aviation, and now we're facing the quietest summer in living memory," says Chief Commercial Officer Peter Krogsgaard of Copenhagen Airport.
Under normal conditions, Copenhagen Airport is the busiest international airport in the Nordic region. This means the drop in traffic is even more severe for as long as national borders remain closed.
Several airlines have begun to reopen minor sections of their route networks. For example, from mid-June, SAS will begin to provide limited services from Copenhagen to 16 destinations, including Frankfurt, Munich, Hamburg, Athens, Nice and Malaga. As things are, SAS is expected to begin operating on 40 of its original 290 summer programme destinations from all Scandinavia.
Other airlines are also gradually reopening. Emirates, for instance, will soon allow passengers on board the aircraft which have recently carried only cargo to and from its hub in Dubai a couple of times a week.
Pandemic makes it difficult to predict what the future will bring
In June, July and August of last summer, Copenhagen Airport served a total of 8,994,407 incoming and outgoing passengers. Given the prevailing uncertainty, Copenhagen Airport is expected to welcome between 500,000 and 1.3 million travellers this summer.
"The COVID-19 crisis has taught us that it's extremely difficult to forecast anything about the future in the midst of a global pandemic. The situation changes from one week to the next, but the current outlook is for an unusually quiet summer with traffic at a mere 5-15 per cent of ordinary volumes," says Krogsgaard.
"Turning to the rest of the year, we're not able to provide a valid estimate. There are many more questions than there are answers: How will the COVID-19 pandemic evolve? How many aviation operators will survive the crisis? What kind of travel guidelines will we get? Which national borders will open - and to whom? How will consumers respond? What steps will the airlines and travel operators take? We will need to answer these and other questions in order to provide any kind of guidance for the rest of the year," he explains.
Medical face masks for safe travel
One thing is certain: Travellers arriving at the airport during the summer months will have a different experience. New rules on PPEs, hygiene and social distancing will apply to travellers and staff from 15 June.
This means that all passengers will be required to wear medical face masks while in the terminals, keep at least one metre away from others and adhere to the well-publicised recommendations, such as maintaining hand hygiene, coughing into your sleeve and staying home if you feel ill.
"From 15 June and initially until the end of August, trips to Europe will begin as soon as travellers enter the terminal, because the common European guidelines will apply. This means that while there are no recommendations to wear medical face masks in the rest of Denmark, Copenhagen Airport will adhere to the guidelines of EASA, the European Aviation Safety Agency," says Krogsgaard,
"Passengers must feel that travelling is safe and predictable. That's why it's important that all EU airports and airlines apply identical rules. They all require travellers to wear face masks," he emphasises.
CPH employees will to wear visors
Travellers arriving at the airport without face masks will be able to buy them. Many airlines hand out face masks to their passengers. The current rule is that you will not be allowed onboard an aircraft without one. The employees at the airport will also be required to use PPEs.
"At Copenhagen Airport, we have decided that all our employees must wear visors. They provide the best protection, and for our staff in Security, for example, travellers will get better service and feel safer when they can see the entire face of the security officer," says Krogsgaard.
All other employees at companies operating at the airport must also wear PPEs, from airline or ground staff checking-in passengers to employees working in the shops. The current guidelines apply until the end of August.