Copenhagen Airport hoping for better times ahead
Copenhagen Airport continues to struggle with the downturn in traffic caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, today admitting that although its airlines are ready for busy summer take-off, “everything now depends on what the reopening plan for the travel industry will look like”.
The Danish gateway adds: “Even with the few people currently travelling, social distancing and testing requirements are putting the airports under pressure.”
A total of 430,000 people passed through the terminals at Copenhagen Airport during the first three months of 2021 – the same number as traditionally handled in any five day period prior to the COVID-19 pandemic when the daily average was 83,000 passengers.
“It’s a sad sight. The aviation industry is still on its knees, and as many as 10,000 jobs have been lost in and around Copenhagen Airport,” notes the airport’s chief commercial officer, Peter Krogsgaard.
“The airlines’ programmes offer lots of options for getting away this summer. But it all depends on the vaccines, the future EU Covid status certificate, infection trends, restrictions and the new reopening plan for the entire industry.
“The political agreement to allow the travel industry to reopen will provide greater visibility for the entire industry. It’s very positive – and important – for the airlines and the travel agencies that Danes are again able to begin planning safe and responsible travel.
“And it’s important for the Danish tourist industry that, in the first instance, European tourists can plan visiting Denmark this summer.”
Passenger traffic in March ended at a daily average of 4,800 travellers, even with the slightly higher level of activity in the days leading up to Easter.
The total number of travellers for the month was 148,877, a 93.7% decline relative to 2019. Compared to March 2020, bearing in mind that the national borders closed on March 14 – passenger numbers fell by 82.5%.
Corona restrictions causing space shortages
Despite the very limited number of travellers, the corona restrictions are already causing shortages of space and longer wait times for both departing and arriving passengers at Copenhagen Airport.
“It may sound odd that it’s a challenge running an airport with so few passengers, but we’ve had to close about half of the check-in desks due to the two-metre rule between passengers,” says Krogsgaard.
“In addition, all travellers are now required to go through check-in at the airport due to the many rules and the test and documentation requirements at the various destinations. These procedures are very time consuming.”
Arriving passengers may sometimes also have to be extra patient. Everyone must take a rapid test and wait for the result before they are allowed to go through the expanded passport check.
“A fast working committee will be established as part of the reopening plan, charged with finding solutions to easing the requirements for social distancing and rapid testing, so we can get passengers through the Danish airports in a safe and efficient manner. This is clearly the right decision,” adds Krogsgaard.