For decades, the Benelux has been a main hub for air transport, which resulted in a strong market position when it comes to passenger and freight transport. This is partly due to its geographical advantage, but infrastructure and high quality services contributed to this status as well. When looking at the air freight transport in the Benelux, Amsterdam Airport Schiphol transported approximately 1.6 million tons of freight, the highest transshipment volume in the Benelux in 2014, whereas Liège had shipped a total of roughly 580,000 tons of freight.
In the Netherlands, one of the main airport is Amsterdam Airport Schiphol. Owned by Royal Schiphol Group, it is the largest airport in terms of passenger numbers and one of the world's most important transport points in Europe. Besides the increase in freight, Schiphol saw their passenger numbers increase from approximately 58 million to 63 million in 2016. However, this is more than the airports capacity could handle. It not only led to financial damages and logistical issues, but Royal Dutch Airlines (KLM), who are prominently presented at Schiphol, suffered from it as well. KLM's annual revenue decreased, although slightly, from 9.9 to 9.8 billion euros in 2016.
In Belgium, Brussels airport saw their passenger numbers increase year-on-year, even though the airport dealt with a terrorist attack in 2016. If in 2013 there were roughly 19 million passengers utilizing Brussels airport, in 2016 the number rose to approximately 22 million. However, cargo flights at Brussels airport decreased significantly in the last ten years. In 2016, 14,000 cargo flights were registered, but roughly 10,000 more cargo flights were seen in 2006.
Looking at Luxembourg airport, it saw its cargo volume increase from roughly 670,000 tons to 820,000 in 2016. The airport is known for its larger volumes in air cargo transport, something Luxeair Group contributed to. In 2016, Luxeair Group's revenue amounted to approximately 500 million euros, a slight decrease compared to 2015.
People travel more, flying longer distances, whether for business or leisure purposes. For example, in 2015, long-haul outbound plane holidays of tourists from the Netherlands increased from 40 to 50 percent in ten years time, whilst car holidays decreased within the same time period. Such numbers demand for new innovations, developments, something Amsterdam Airport Schiphol is currently struggling with. The number of runway incursions was never as high as in 2016, with a total of 47.
The growing demand for flights, safety and crowd control management are subjects which became of crucial importance for the civil aviation industry. Furthermore, the rise of low cost airlines such as Easyjet, Ryanair or Wizair made its contribution to the growing demand by providing cheap flights. Therefore, the aviation market became even more competitive. More and more high-end airlines are not happy with these developments, but consumers profit from the situation.