Airports flying high again, Barcelona and London most popular

Barcelona is a popular destination for Dutch airports. Photo:

The number of passengers to and from the five commercial airports in the Netherlands has gone up by 16% to over 70 million compared to 2022, with Barcelona and London the most popular European destinations, national statistics agency CBS figures show.

The total is still well down on pre-pandemic year 2019 when the airports chalked up a record of over 81 million travellers.

A total of 506,000 commercial flights were carried out, some 9% more than the year before.  Occupancy rates were up as well, with an average of 79 travellers for every 100 seats compared to 76 in 2021, the agency said.

Schiphol processed the bulk of the total, with 442,000 flights and almost 62 million passengers, an 18% increase on the year before when the airport was plagued by staff shortages.

The Amsterdam airport is followed by Eindhoven and Rotterdam airports, which, of the five, are the only ones to show an increase in passenger number compared to 2019. Some 6.9 million people used Eindhoven airport while 2.2 million travelled to and from Rotterdam.

Of the 71.3 million passengers, some 37.1 million travelled to and from destinations in Europe, with Spain (9.3 million) and the UK (8.6 million) among the most popular. Barcelona and London clocked up 1.8 million and 1.4 million passenger respectively.

Of the destinations outside Europe the United States came first, with 8.6 million passengers.

Industry body ACI Europe said the number of passengers is creeping up to pre-pandemic levels. It counted a total of 2.3 billion passengers traveling to and from European airports last year, some 5.3% below the 2019 tally. London Heathrow is the busiest airport in Europe, with Schiphol coming in fourth place.

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