Brussels and Budapest airports continue the European cargo growth trend

09 / 12 / 2016

Europe’s gateway and secondary airports continue to see increased airfreight volumes, with strong results at both Brussels and Budapest.

Cargo traffic at Brussels Airport surged 15.2% in November to 45,500 tons, with full-freighter services continuing the strong growth trend at the key European hub.

November was also a strong cargo month for Budapest’s Ferenc Liszt Airport in Hungary, whose air and trucked volumes passed the 100,000 tonnes benchmark for the first 11 months of 2016, a 21.5% rise over the same period in 2015.

The Brussels and Budapest results follow the latest figures from Airports Council International (ACI) Europe which showed that year-on-year cargo demand growth for October reached its highest level since May 2011.

The full-freighter segment at the Belgian airport increased by 55.5% to 16,700 tons in November, thanks largely to main deck operators Etihad Cargo, Ethiopian Airlines Cargo and Qatar Airways Cargo.

A spokesman for the airport said: “Integrator services also showed a healthy growth: an increase of 8.5% ─ to just over 18,000 tons ─ compared with the same month last year. The growth is strongly influenced by the season’s festivities, whereby each year more cargo is shipped worldwide.”

However, for the year to date, total cargo volumes at Brussels fell by 0.8% to 445,100 tons, while belly cargo on passenger flights, dropped by 11.4% compared to November last year.

The airport observed that strong growth from Brussels Airlines and United Airlines not yet been able to compensate for the departure of Jet Airways to Schiphol.

The passenger total in November 2016 was influenced by the heightened security level following the attacks in Paris and the lock-down of Brussels. On March 22 this year, 12 people died in a  terrorist attack at Brussels airport, which affected passenger services for several weeks although freighter operations were able to restart soon after the outrage.

Said the Brussels spokesman: “European passengers in particular cancelled their travel plans to and from Brussels. Even now, quite a few tourists continue to avoid our country; tourists from the US, Japan and China in particular have not yet returned in their previous numbers.”

The volume of export cargo at Budapest, a regional gateway for traffic between Asia and Europe, now exceeds the volume of imports said a spokesperson, adding: “It is promising that this growth is due to not only a single airline or segment, as in addition to conventional cargo carriers the turnover of integrators as well as the volume of belly cargo is increasing steadily.

Airport statistics suggest that increased turnover in Hungarian exports has been produced primarily by the electronic industry, producers of automotive parts, telecommunication technologies, and the pharmaceutical industry.

“We are really proud of the rapid growth of air cargo volume reaching 16.4% this year, as this is a clear sign of good performance of the Hungarian economy,” said René Droese, property director of Budapest Airport responsible for cargo.

He added: “The needs of increasingly robust cargo traffic will also be catered for by the two major logistics bases currently under construction next to Terminal 1 for DHL Express and TNT.

“Simultaneously, we started preparations of the development of a brand new air cargo center called Cargo City in the area next to Terminal 2, since it is expected that additional and more modern cargo handling capacities will be required in Budapest within a short time.”