Copenhagen had only 9.2 million passengers in 2021 but hopes for growth this year

Published: Tuesday, March 1, 2022

COPENHAGEN, Denmark—Just under 9.2 million passengers passed through Copenhagen Airport (CPH) in 2021, about a third of what it used to handle before the pandemic but the company is hopeful growth will be forthcoming this summer and autumn as travel eases up.

Scandinavia’s main international airport said the first half of 2021 was practically without activity and passengers on account of the infection rates and travel restrictions. During the summer and autumn, air travel staged a comeback, and passenger numbers in the second half reached over 50 percent of the figures for 2019. “We are seeing the first green shoots of a recovery in 2022,” it says.

CPH had 9,179,654 passengers through the terminals in 2021 – an increase of 22 percent compared to 2020, when the pandemic struck in March, but still 70 percent below the figures for 2019.

2021 was very much a game of two halves, CPH said as it started with parked aircraft, empty terminals and merely 5,000 daily passengers, corresponding to a standard day of travel in 1962.

“Following an incredibly quiet winter and spring, Europe re-opened when the travel restrictions were lifted. Passenger numbers more than quadrupled in just a few months, from 260,000 passengers in May to 1.2 million in July. This shows that the appetite for travel is intact and makes for a promising outlook for 2022,” said Peter Krogsgaard, Chief Commercial Officer of Copenhagen Airports A/S.

The summer and autumn brought back life to the terminals with some 40–50,000 daily passengers and the re-opening of around 120 destinations. During the second half, the activity reached fifty per cent of the figures pre-Covid, carried in the main by European traffic.

“Despite the Omicron variant, we had just under 1.1 million passengers in December – a fine end to a year in which particularly the summer and the schools’ autumn break unleashed the pent-up demand for travelling the world for business and leisure,” said Krogsgaard.

The majority of the international routes were restored during the course of 2021, and CPH remains the largest and most important international airport in the Nordics.

Krogsgaard noted that airlines regard CPH as an attractive and efficient airport with a large catchment area, covering not just Denmark and southern Sweden but also large parts of northern Europe.

“All the airlines that operated out of Copenhagen before the pandemic are still at CPH. This is crucial for us in re-establishing the strong network of routes and securing CPH as the most important international traffic hub of the Nordics,” he explains.

In 2021, the monthly top 10 lists of destinations featured particularly one country: Spain. Málaga and Mallorca were the favorite destinations until they were replaced by Gran Canaria in December.

Thus, Spain was the hands-down most popular country with 1.1 million passengers travelling from CPH.  Other classic holiday destinations were also in great demand, such as Italy, Greece and Turkey with 450,000, 410,000 and just under 370,000 passengers respectively.