Groningen Airport Eelde (GAE) passenger numbers were down 90% in 2020 compared with pre-pandemic levels, RTV Drenthe reports. No other Dutch city has endured a larger percentage loss of service, according to the broadcaster. Just 19,000 people travelled through the Eelde airport in 2020 compared with over 186,000 in 2019.
The decline was driven not only by travel restrictions in and out of the Netherlands, but also the loss of direct routes to several European destinations. AIS Airlines, for instance, dropped its flights from Eelde to Copenhagen, while the demise of the British carrier Flybe cost the airport a route to London.
By the airport’s count, Eelde’s losses from the plunge in travel have hit the projected 1.3 million euros and are expected to rise further.
GAE has received a total of 700,000 euros under the government’s NOW job retention scheme for employers. According to RTV Drenthe, there is a chance that the government will want that subsidy back, which will only exacerbate the airport’s financial woes.