TREND IN TRAFFIC VOLUME
PASSENGER VOLUMES BACK TO 1983 LEVELS: 8.3 MILLION PASSENGERS AT ZURICH AIRPORT IN 2020
As a result of the coronavirus pandemic, in 2020 Zurich Airport saw a massive 73.5% drop in the number of air passengers, ending the year at 8,341,047. Travel restrictions and the imposition of quarantine periods all over the world made any kind of meaningful travel significantly more difficult. As a consequence, Zurich Airport experienced this sharp collapse in passenger volumes. This is thus slightly above the average decline of 71.1% at the major European airports, which were, however, often able to benefit from domestic services (source: ACI Airports Council International).
Due to demand in the holiday flight and VFR segment (visiting friends and family), the decline in the number of local passengers, by 71.7% to 6.3 million, was less than the average. The greatly reduced number of flights available also impacted the network effect at Zurich Airport and led to an above-average fall in the number of transfer passengers by 78.2% to 2.0 million. As a result, the proportion of transfer passengers also fell from 29.3% in the previous year to 24.2% in the reporting period.
At –71.9%, the decline in Europe – the key market for Zurich Airport – was less than for the market as a whole (–73.5%). As a result of tighter travel restrictions, intercontinental traffic shrank by 78.6%. In percentage terms, flights to and from North America saw the biggest fall in demand (–81.6%). By imposing entry rules and quarantine regulations, travel in North America was greatly restricted from March 2020. After North America came the Far East (–79.8%), the Middle East (–77.7%) and Africa (–73.6%). As its tourist routes continued to be served to a certain extent, at –70.1%, Latin America experienced the smallest decline in passenger numbers.
The passenger share of home carrier Swiss fell to 50.4% in the year under review (2019: 53.6%). Edelweiss Air followed with a share of 10.4%, Lufthansa with 2.7%, then both Eurowings and easyJet each with 2.5%.
FEWER FLIGHT MOVEMENTS PLUS DROP IN CAPACITY UTILISATION
In total there were 111,328 flight movements in 2020, a decrease of 59.6% over the previous year. In the scheduled and charter flight segment, the number of flight movements fell by 65.8%. General aviation contracted by –12.3%.
During the same period the number of seats offered fell by 66.2%. The number of passengers per flight movement dropped from 130 in 2019 to 103 in 2020, leading to the seat load falling 17.1 percentage points to 61.2% during the year under review.
Freight volumes at Zurich Airport decreased by 35.6% in 2020 compared with the 2019 level. A total of 291,163 tonnes of freight were transported during the reporting period. While the volume of freight shipped by air shrank by 43.8%, air freight transported by road fell by 12.1%.
Air freight did not experience such a sharp decline as passenger volumes and flight movements. As so many passenger flights were not operating, additional freight aircraft were deployed. Standing at 2,526, there have never been so many freight flights in one calendar year in the history of Zurich Airport. This clearly shows how dependent the Swiss economy is on foreign trade and the key role that aviation plays here, especially in the field of valuable goods.
PASSENGERS AT EUROPEAN AIRPORTS
Source: ACI Airports Council International (scheduled & charter)