Traffic turnaround building pace in Copenhagen
There may still be a long way to go, but passenger numbers are finally on the rise at Copenhagen Airport, the Danish gateway handling nearly twice as many travellers last month than it did in May.
And although the June upturn only amounted to an average of 17,000 passengers a day compared to pre-COVID levels of around 83,000, the airport’s chief commercial officer, Peter Krogsgaard, admits that it is a good sign that better times are on their way.
“This is the first time since aviation was torpedoed by the crisis that we dare to believe that a turnaround is building,” said Krogsgaard.
“In the final days of June, we had as many as 30,000 travellers daily, and the current appetite for travel looks set to intensify in July.”
For COP, it certainly looks like the world is reopening, initially for travel to Europe, with places like Màlaga and Palma now showing up on the top 10 destinations and airline load factors close to 70%, up from January 2021’s low of just 30%.
However, with passenger numbers returning and most of the new COVID travel requirements still in place, the airport is urging passengers to be patient and to expect longer waiting times that they are traditionally used to over the next few months.
Krogsgaard notes: “Travellers need to prepare thoroughly before leaving home, and they should make sure to have everything printed.
“All documents need to be checked at the airport, so checking in will often take longer than people are used to, but they can rest assured that we’ll get everyone to their chosen destinations. This summer we have 175 to pick from, so don’t hesitate, just go!”
Travellers, says Copenhagen Airport, should also be aware that the rules that apply may vary from one destination and airline to the next.
Before the pandemic, airline tickets were bought at an average of two months ahead of departure, and even sooner for summer holiday travel. This has changed dramatically due to COVID-19 and the many travel restrictions put in place during the past year.
“We’ve noticed that, typically, Danes are buying their airline tickets just a week before departure, because then they feel reasonably confident about the travel rules,” notes Krogsgaard.
“This is a change – and a bit of a challenge for the airport, the airlines and the ground handlers taking care of everything from check-in, boarding and baggage handling on behalf of the airlines.
“It’s incredibly difficult to predict how many travellers we’ll have and to plan the traffic, but everybody at the airport is working very hard to get passengers to their destinations.
Today, the average daily number of passengers passing through Copenhagen Airport is around 30,000, with almost fifty shops and outlets open and more on the way.
“We can see, feel and measure that the recovery is under way. The atmosphere and the joy of travel is really staging a comeback, but we still have some way to go yet,” Krogsgaard concludes.