While the reopening of borders in Europe and the cautious restarts of a number of airline routes are having an effect, Copenhagen Airport is facing the quietest summer in living memory.
The number of destinations available to travellers grew to 44 in June, but that compares with 161 last year (not including charter services). However, the drop in departures and arrivals is much more pronounced: The number of seats available into and out of CPH equalled only 8.3 per cent of the seats available in June of last year.
In other words, this year, CPH will see only a fraction of the almost nine million travellers (Danes and Swedes going on holiday and foreign tourists and business people arriving) usually passing through the airport during June, July and August.
“As matters stand, we expect a drop of about 85 per cent in traffic this summer. This means that Denmark will miss out on upwards of 1.5 million foreign tourists and business people during the summer months. This will be costly not only for the aviation industry, but also for Denmark’s entire experience economy, including hotels, cultural venues and restaurants,” says Peter Krogsgaard, Chief Commercial Officer at CPH.
A faint light in the dark
A total of 151,085 passengers passed through the terminals in June – 94.9 per cent fewer than in the same month last year. This equals to a daily passenger flow of 4,870, which is nevertheless a huge increase from the low point of 427 travellers recorded on 9 April.
Under normal circumstances, Copenhagen Airport has 83,000 travellers per day and often more than 100,000 during the summer months.
“The aviation industry is in deep crisis. Still, there is a faint light in the dark: passengers and airlines have started to return, and a few premises serving food and drink have reopened along with the large TAX FREE shop. Currently, some 20 businesses have reopened out of the 146 shops and outlets which operated in the terminals before the coronavirus paralysed the airport and all the associated business here,” explains Krogsgaard.
Expecting growth in July
Fortunately, business is expected to continue to grow in July, albeit at a completely different level than last year. According to announcements made by the airlines on their routes and frequencies, the number of destinations will grow to 85. Last year, CPH had scheduled flights to 167 destinations.
This year, however, there are much fewer scheduled flights to the individual destinations, meaning that the number of seats for sale is expected to amount to just under 28 per cent of the number in July of last year.
“The good news is that, once again, people are able to travel and explore other parts of the world, go on holiday or do business. The bad news is that it will be a very long time before we see anything that merely resembles pre-coronavirus levels,” says Krogsgaard.
Safe travel in corona times
For Copenhagen Airport, creating a sense of security is crucial in order to support a gradual return of the joy of and the desire to travel. Adherence to the common European guidelines on face masks, hygiene and social distancing at the airport is part of those efforts.
EASA, the European Aviation Safety Agency, has selected CPH as one of initially fifteen European airports to implement best practice procedures in order to ensure safe and secure travel.
“We can see that travellers are doing quite well in complying with the new guidelines about face masks and social distancing – guidelines that apply in all airports currently open for inbound and outbound flights. Moreover, ensuring that a journey is predictable provides an extra level of security,” says Krogsgaard.
The only time travellers do not have to wear face masks is if they are seated somewhere in the terminal for something to eat or drink.
Denmark’s Capital Region has opened a coronavirus test centre in an outdoor tent located in Airport Square next to Terminal 3. No appointment is necessary, it is free and the swab takes about five minutes. Residents of Denmark can get test results on the national healthcare portal, sundhed.dk, within 24–48 hours, while foreign residents will be contacted if their tests are positive.