In September, the recovery for air travel in Sweden slowed down and the number of passengers was slightly lower than in August. During July, August and September, passenger numbers have been stable, which for September shows that business travel has started to the extent that it corresponds to the more focused leisure travel during July and August.

During the ninth month of the year, 1,601,061 passengers flew to and from the country’s airports according to the Swedish Transport Agency’s airport statistics. This is an increase of 122 percent compared to September in 2020 and a decrease of 61 percent compared to September 2019. September is the third month in a row where the passenger decrease has been about 60 percent compared to before the corona pandemic and the recovery has after an increase between May and July stabilized. Although it is negative that the recovery does not continue upwards, the passenger figures for September show that travel during the month, which is more focused on business travel than the summer months, corresponds to the same level of travel as July and August where leisure travelers dominate. Business travel thus appears to have started and in combination with leisure travel corresponds to the same passenger levels as during the summer.

Stockholm Arlanda was, as usual, the country’s largest airport in September with just over 886,000 passengers. Behind Arlanda follow Gothenburg Landvetter, Stockholm Skavsta, Stockholm Bromma and Malmö Airport. It is noteworthy that Bromma Airport showed a strong increase in passengers by 349 percent compared with September 2020 and has recovered better than, for example, Arlanda and Landvetter compared with before the pandemic. The reason for this is that Bromma has a large proportion of domestic travelers, which is the segment that has recovered best so far.

During September, all airports in the country with passenger traffic showed a positive development compared with September 2020, with the exception of Sundsvall Timrå, Kristianstad and Karlstad. Both Karlstad and Kristianstad have not had any regular air traffic during the entire pandemic and the number of passengers is small on September, 37 and 18, respectively. This explains the negative development there, while for Sundsvall Timrå it is more worrying with a negative development. Sundsvall had 1,870 passengers in September this year, which is four percent fewer passengers compared to September 2020. During the pandemic, the airport had a temporary procurement of air traffic to Stockholm interspersed with commercial traffic with SAS. Since the beginning of September, SAS has been flying again on commercial grounds between Sundsvall and Stockholm. It has so far not had a positive effect compared with the previous year, but there is a clear increase in passengers between August and September this year for Sundsvall Timrå Airport, which still shows a SAS effect in September compared to August when Air Leap flew to Sundsvall.

It is also noteworthy for September that Pajala Airport had more passengers than it had in September 2019. The airport increased the number of passengers by 34 percent compared to September 2019. However, the actual passenger numbers are small, 282 in September this year against 210 in September for two years ago, which explains part of the relatively sharp increase. It is of course positive that Pajala has at least in September recovered from the pandemic and the airport has been able to have the same range as before the pandemic thanks to procured air traffic.

It is still the airports north of Stockholm that resist the pandemic best in terms of passenger numbers, which shows the importance of aviation for many regions, mainly in Norrland. An example of this is that among the 15 airports that have recovered best in September compared with September 2019, eleven are located in Norrland while the others are Stockholm Västerås, Visby, Ängelholm Helsingborg and Halmstad. Västerås Airport only has international traffic with Ryanair and this traffic is obviously in good shape against the pandemic as the airport only had 24 percent fewer passengers in September compared to the same period before the pandemic. For Visby Airport, the positive recovery is due to the fact that aviation is of great importance for connections from Gotland to the mainland. The airports Ängelholm Helsingborg and Halmstad are among the last on the top 15 list of recovery but perform better than many other airports in the country. This is mainly due to the fact that the airports have almost exclusively domestic traffic and also because alternative travel routes to Stockholm other than flights are limited compared with, for example, Gothenburg Landvetter, which also has a large share of international traffic. Therefore, the recovery is faster at the first two airports, while air traffic to a greater extent competes with other means of transport on domestic traffic to and from Stockholm.

In summary, September was a stable month for air travel in Sweden, where the level of travelers remained stable compared with the summer months, which is positive. At the end of September, a number of restrictions were abolished in Sweden, which may contribute to a positive development in October for air travel if business travel continues to increase in combination with more holiday travel both domestically and abroad in step with fewer restrictions.

Credit: Simon Ericson & Flyg24Nyheter
Original article (SE):

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