Airports see cargo volumes decline further in February

Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA)

Major airports suffered another month of traffic declines in February, with the world’s largest airfreight hub reporting a double-digit percentage decrease on a year earlier.

Hong Kong International Airport saw cargo volumes decrease by 14.4% year on year in February to 274,000 tonnes due to “unfavourable macroeconomic conditions”.

Figures in the first few months of the year are often affected by the timing of the Chinese New Year, but combining the months of January and February still result in a loss as the airport registered an 8.6% year-on-year decline during the period.

“Amid global economic uncertainty, cargo traffic saw 10% drops in both imports and exports in these two months, which are consistent with the softening cargo market in the region,” the airport said in a statement.

“Amongst key trading regions, cargo traffic to and from Europe and Southeast Asia experienced the most significant decreases.”

Elsewhere in Asia, Singapore’s Changi airport saw cargo traffic slide by 8.3% to 137,000 tonnes in February as “the slowdown in world trade saw all cargo flows – exports, imports and transhipments – weakening”.

In Europe, there was also a dip in cargo volumes in February as Airports Council International (ACI) Europe reported a 3.3% year-on-year decline.

The drop-off was led by European Union (EU) airports, which were down by 3.7% on a year earlier, while non-EU hubs registered a 1.2% decline.

Amongst the top 10 European airports for freight traffic only three posted gains: Liège (9.3%), Madrid (6.8%) and Istanbul-Ataturk (2.3%).

The region’s busiest cargo airport, Frankfurt, was down 2.8% during the month to 152,099 tonnes, there was a 3.3% decline at Paris CDG to 142,143 tonnes, London Heathrow noted a 3.8% decline to 128,065 tonnes and Amsterdam Schiphol slipped by 12.3% to 115,797 tonnes as its freighter slot woes continue.

Over the first two months combined, traffic at European airports was 2.7% behind last year.

There was a similar performance in Miami International (MIA), which has recently been bucking the trend of registering declines.

The Florida airport registered a 4.5% year-on-year decline in February as traffic dropped to 189,246 tonnes.

During the first two months of the year, MIA has seen cargo volumes decline by 1.4% compared with a year earlier.

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