Luxembourgh Times

Luxembourg air travel close to pre-pandemic levels

Air traffic was 15% down at Findel Airport in March compared to the same month in 2019, according to Eurostat

Luxair staff at Luxembourg airport during the 2020 Covid-19 pandemic

Luxair staff at Luxembourg airport during the 2020 Covid-19 pandemic © Photo credit: Guy Jallay

The number of flights at Luxembourg's Findel Airport has recovered to near pre-pandemic levels, according to figures released by the EU's official statistics agency Eurostat on Thursday.

Commercial flights in and out of Luxembourg in March were 15% lower than the same month in 2019, before the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic. The comparative drop is much smaller than most other EU countries, and well below the average fall in activity, 27%, at airports across the bloc in the same period.

Nevertheless, the statistics show that the sector is rebounding after public health lockdowns effectively ground the aviation industry to a halt, with a massive spike in flights within the space of just one year.

There was a 156% increase in the number of commercial flights last month compared to March 2021, Eurostat said. That chimes with figures from Eurocontrol, the EU's air-traffic control agency, which calculated a rise of nearly 160% compared with March 2021.

Last year, two million passengers travelled from the Grand Duchy, a 40% increase from 2020, when the pandemic shattered two decades of consistent growth in passenger numbers, which were down two-thirds on 2019 levels.

A full recovery to the level of travel seen in 2019 is not expected until 2024 at the earliest, the airport said in February. However, the cargo sector has boomed, with planes transporting 1.1 million tons of cargo out of the airport last year, a 20% year-on-year increase.

The country's national airline, Luxair, has struggled throughout the pandemic, with CEO Gilles Feith saying he expected the carrier to post a loss for 2021 between €20 and €30 million after recording an operating loss of over €150 million the year before.