Aviation Caribbean Netherlands not yet back to pre-pandemic levels

Aviation Caribbean Netherlands not yet back to pre-pandemic levels
St. Eustatius seen from the air. Photo: Dick Drayer

In 2021, more than 290,000 passengers flew to and from the airports of Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba. That is almost 60 percent more than in 2020, but still 36 percent less than the more than 457 thousand passengers in 2019. This is reported by Statistics Netherlands on the basis of new figures.

At 17.4 thousand, the number of aircraft movements to and from these three airports was more than 38 percent higher than the number of flights from 2020, but was also about a third less than in 2019.

In July 2020, when there was no longer a flight ban to the Caribbean Netherlands, the number of flights to and from Bonaire increased. Most flights have also been on Bonaire since the relaxation of the corona measures for international air traffic from 15 May 2021.


Bonaire International Airport (BIA) has not yet returned to the level it was before the corona crisis, when almost eight thousand planes landed and took off from Flamingo Airport. In 2021, the number of arriving and departing flights, the so-called flight movements, did not exceed ten thousand. This is reported by the Central Bureau of Statistics in the Netherlands based on provisional figures.

With 5,000 inbound and 5,000 departing flights, 2021 was a lot better than 2020, when the corona crisis started. That year, only 7,760 flight movements were recorded.

The five thousand incoming flights in 2021 brought a total of more than 130,000 passengers to Bonaire. Far less than the nearly 192,000 in 2019, but far more than the 80,000 in 2020.

The busiest months last year were July, August and December, each with over 550 flights arriving each month. They brought an average of almost 17,000 passengers a month to the island. With this, Bonaire seems to be back to the level it was before the corona crisis.

Flamingo Airport on Bonaire receives almost 90 percent of the air passengers in the Caribbean Netherlands. Both in 2020 and 2021, Flamingo Airport on Bonaire was the fourth airport in passenger traffic in the Netherlands, after Amsterdam Schiphol, Eindhoven Airport and Rotterdam The Hague Airport.

St. Eustatius

Sint Eustatius is far from being back to the level it was before the corona pandemic. While the number of flight movements in 2019 was still almost 6,500, in 2021 the counter will be 4,200. More than the year 2020 when only 3,000 flight movements were registered.

In 2019, the nearly 3,200 incoming flights accounted for more than 21,000 passengers. Last year, the 2,100 planes that landed brought only 7,600 passengers to the island.


Saba, on the other hand, recovered well last year and is almost back to pre-corona levels in terms of aircraft movements. In 2019 there were more than 3,500 arriving and departing aircraft. Last year the counter got stuck at more than 3,200 flight movements.

But as far as air passengers are concerned, Saba has lost half. Nearly 15,000 passengers came to the island in 2019, compared to just over 7,500 last year.

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