Brussels Airport has reported a slight increase in passenger numbers over Belgium’s summer, despite a change in school holidays affecting passenger habits at the end of August.

Around 4.6 million passengers passed through the airport during July and August, according to data released by the Brussels Airport Company, a 5% increase on 2022 numbers.

CEO Arnaud Feist described the period as a “great success” for the airport: “Passenger numbers at Brussels Airport over the summer holidays have been especially good. 

“The wide range of destinations across Europe and worldwide have tempted many holidaymakers, who were also no doubt keen to escape the continuing downpours in Belgium in July.”

However, despite the encouraging passenger levels, flown air cargo volumes were slightly down on 2022 numbers by 1%, to 49,189t, though this is largely in line with numbers for the wider air cargo industry, with IATA reporting that an ongoing decline in air cargo volumes could soon be over, with volumes almost back in line with numbers from last year.

In addition to the summer numbers, Brussels Airport also revealed data for the whole first half of 2023 and up to August, showing that passenger numbers are, so far, way up on 2022, with a 22.3% increase in total passengers.

Meanwhile, air cargo was still tracking below 2022 levels overall with a 3.8% decrease, largely driven by lower full freighter cargo tonnes.

The increase in passenger numbers at Brussels continues a trend of strengthening growth for airports across Europe and Eurasia, with London Gatwick recording a 41% rise in passengers for the first half of 2023.

Dubai International Airport also reported numbers going beyond 2019 levels for the first time since the pandemic, with a 49.1% increase in 2022 passenger numbers.

These individual cases are also backed up by IATA data, which saw a 26.2% increase in traffic, measured in revenue passenger kilometres, for July 2023.