Leeds Bradford Airport sees loss of three million passengers in 2020 but sees surge in demand for 2021

Leeds Bradford Airport saw a loss of more than three million passengers during 2020, compared to the previous year.

Friday, 19th March 2021, 11:45 am

This is largely due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the aviation industry, as flights were cancelled and all non-essential travel banned.

Leeds Bradford Airport (LBA) saw the second largest reduction in passenger numbers across the whole of the UK, according to research by MyBaggage.com.

The researched, compiled by data from the Civil Aviation Authority, showed that the Yeadon-based airport lost 81.2 per cent of travellers compared to 2019.

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Leeds Bradford Airport. Photo: James Hardisty.
Leeds Bradford Airport. Photo: James Hardisty.

Passenger numbers went from 3,992,000 in 2019 to only 751,048 in 2020.

However, a spokesman for LBA said that the airport has already seen a huge spike in demand, following the Government's roadmap out of lockdown announcement.

He added that he was confident passanger numbers would return when it becomes safe to travel again and restrictions are eased

The spokesman said: “The travel industry has been rocked by the pandemic on a global scale and LBA has not been exempt from the impact.

"What we have shown throughout this period is a resilience to prepare for the return of passengers and ensured that we can provide the best experience possible when it is safe and appropriate to do so.

"Several airlines reported record levels of advanced bookings when the UK roadmap out of Covid restriction was declared, we’re positive that this spike reflects a growing demand to fly in the months to come. ”

Leeds-based airline and package holiday company Jet2, which runs many flights from LBA, has already reported a huge surge in bookings.

The company saw a 1,000 per cent spike in bookings immediately following the Prime Minister’s announcement of an exit roadmap from lockdown.

To meet the demand, the airline has increased the number of flights and holidays to a number of desinations including the Sapnish Canary Islands, Greece and Turkey.

It has also announced its skiing programme for 2021/22, offering 10 per cent off all ski flights booked in March.

The programme sees the return of direct flights to Switzerland, Austria and the Pyrenees.

Steve Heapy, CEO of Jet2.com and Jet2holidays said: “We have seen enormous pent-up demand from British holidaymakers for some time, with people wanting nothing more than to get away to the sunshine and enjoy their well-deserved holidays.

"The government’s announcement is the news they have been longing for, and the continued surge in bookings shows how ready our customers are to get away to the sunshine on a real package holiday.”

“We are very pleased that the government has shown a clear ambition to reopen international travel in the coming months, and we look forward to more detail in due course.

"Throughout the pandemic, we have done absolutely everything to look after our valued customers and we have always said that the sun will shine for them once again.

"We know what an incredibly difficult time it has been for everyone, and we very much look forward to taking everyone from our rainy islands to their dream holiday choice this summer and beyond.”

A spokesman for MyBaggage.com said the research revealed the impact of the pandemic not only on the aviation industry as a whole but also on a regional level around the UK.

He said: “The past 12 months has been nothing short of devastating for the UK aviation industry with a fall in passengers using our airports of around three quarters.

“But not all airports have seen the same impact, some have definitely been harder hit than others with the number of people travelling down by more than 80% in some locations.

“While these numbers are stark they still don’t show the whole picture.

Each of these airports is a regional hub employing thousands of workers.

With passenger numbers down to this extent, there will have been a dramatic knock-on effect across many industries.

“The tourism industry has of course been massively impacted but the full economic effect can only be guessed at.

“With the vaccine programme now well underway everyone in the travel industry is hoping for a more positive second half to 2021 and for the aviation industry to recover over the coming months and years.”