With 1,963,426 passengers passing through the terminals in January, Copenhagen Airport is off to a relatively quiet start to 2020. The number of passengers fell by 8,741, equal to a slight drop of 0.4 per cent.
There are several factors to explain the slowdown, points out Copenhagen Airport CEO Thomas Woldbye.
“Aviation is under pressure globally, and 2020 began with some degree of economic uncertainty due to the corona virus outbreak, the trade war, Brexit and the essential climate transition of aviation. In addition, our second-largest customer, Norwegian, is currently implementing a new strategy of putting profitability ahead of traffic growth,” says Woldbye.
During the last couple of weeks of January, the effect of the corona virus was also being felt at Copenhagen Airport. The number of travellers on routes to China fell by more than 3,000 compared with January of last year.
At the end of the month, SAS announced that it was halting its direct flights to Shanghai and Beijing until March at least. Sichuan Airlines has temporarily halted some of its flights to Chengdu, and starting in February Air China has cut one of its three weekly direct flights to Beijing.From March 1-28. all Air China flights to CPH are cancelled.
“Traffic between China and Denmark will be significantly reduced in February. We also expect that the situation will impact traffic to other Asian destinations to some extent. The situation is evolving day by day right now,” says Woldbye.
London on top - Doha on the rise
At up to 23 daily departures on weekdays, London remains clearly the most popular destination from Copenhagen. Despite Brexit, which means that from 1 February Britain was no longer member of the EU, it is still expected to be business as usual on traffic to and from London for the rest of the year.
“The EU and Britain have a temporary agreement that British travellers will be treated like EU citizens until the end of the year. Hopefully, by that time, there will be a good and permanent agreement on air traffic between Britain and the EU countries,” says Woldbye.
Traffic on long-haul routes out of Europe fell by 5.3% in January, mainly because Norwegian no longer has [direct] flights to the United States from Copenhagen, as the airline is instead focusing on European routes.
Like last year, the fastest growing route was Doha, which is a hub for Qatar Airways’ routes to Asia and Africa. Doha has climbed to eighth place on the list of most popular destinations, with passenger numbers up by 20.6 per cent to 51,120 in January.