Mixed November for European cargo airports

12 / 12 / 2016

Europe’s leading cargo hubs saw a mixed November for volumes, with Germany’s Frankfurt Airport hit by airline strikes while London’s freight hubs registered increases of more than four percent versus like month 2015.

Frankfurt’s November cargo volumes fell by 2.1% to 191,461 as throughputs at the German gateway were “impacted by the strike and an unfavourable timing of weekends and weekdays”.

Europe’s number one cargo airport in 2015, handling 2.1m tonnes, is now marginally ahead of last year’s rolling total, registering a 1.3% increase over the first eleven months of 2016 versus prior period 2015.

Frankfurt saw a 4.9% increase in passenger traffic in November, despite the Lufthansa pilot strike affecting some 345,000 passengers and almost 2,600 aircraft movements.

London-Heathrow airport, Europe’s fourth largest cargo hub in 2015, recorded a 4.4% growth in airfreight volumes during November to 138,050 tonnes.

Heathrow, accounting for almost 30% of all UK exports by value outside the European Union last year, saw “particularly strong” cargo growth in the month to fast-growing markets in the Middle East, East Asia and Latin America.

Outbound cargo to China rose 10.6% in November, with comparable rises of 10.4% to Turkey, 7.3% to Mexico and 5.6% to Brazil

Heathrow chief executive John Holland-Kaye said: “With record passenger volumes and strong cargo growth in November, Heathrow is delivering for Britain’s economy.

“Since the Government’s backing of a third runway, we’ve put a team in place that will help us to deliver the benefits of expansion as quickly as possible – an affordable plan that creates more jobs, boosts exporters and builds an economy that is stronger and fairer for everyone – and we are looking forward to the publication of the Government’s National Policy Statement early next year.”

London Stansted airport also reported a November surge in cargo volumes to nearly 23,000 tonnes, a 4.3% increase on the same month in 2015.

The annual cargo throughput total at Stansted now stands at just over 252,000 tonnes, an increase of 7% year-on-year.

Stansted Airport’s chief executive, Andrew Cowan, said: “The first full month of the airline’s winter flight schedules produced another solid performance in terms of passenger growth and the busiest November for the airport on record.

“Strong average load factors continue to drive the increase in passenger volumes while the airport’s significant and high-value cargo operation also recorded another positive month of growth.”

The UK's East Midlands airport, a sister hub to Stansted under MAG ownership, saw a 7.9% fall in November to 25,535 tonnes, a decrease due in part to scheduled runway closures.

Paris Charles de Gaulle (CDG) and Amsterdam Schiphol airports, number two and three European freight hubs respectively last year, have yet to publish their November figures, but CDG registered a 3.2% year on year rise in cargo volumes for the first ten months of 2016.

If that trend continues, CDG looks set to pip Frankfurt to the post as the top European cargo hub for airfreight and mail volumes in 2016.

Schiphol, with a 1.9% cumulative rise for year to date October 2019, is on course to remain in third place.