Cologne/Bonn records highest cargo volumes increase in ten years

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Cologne-Bonn airport has recorded the highest increase in cargo volumes in a decade, seeing double figure growth rates since August 2020.

During the first quarter of 2021, cargo volume at the German hub rose by 25% to 235,580 tonnes, achieving the highest increase in the last ten years.

In March alone, the record high of last December was surpassed, with a volume of more than 87,800 tonnes of air cargo, setting a new historical record.

Compared to the same month in the previous year, express cargo companies UPS, FedEx and DHL transported around a quarter more goods and the general cargo airlines almost fifty percent more.

The increase in tonnage, said airport management, is due to the increasing importance of e-commerce and the worldwide transport of medical goods, protective equipment and vaccines.

In addition, due to the reduced number of passenger flights, there is a corresponding deficit in bellyhold capacity.

“Cologne Bonn Airport is one of the largest and most important hubs worldwide when it comes to express shipments and international deliveries,” said Johan Vanneste, the airport’s president and chief executive.

“We are pleased to be able to play our part in these difficult times by ensuring that people are supplied with the goods they need, and fast, whether it be coronavirus tests, vaccines or any other items.”

Added an airport spokesperson: “All of these factors have led to an increase in demand for air cargo and thus to additional flights, as well as a higher level of utilisation of the aircraft being used.

“In the first quarter of the year, for example, an average of three tonnes more goods were transported per aircraft and there was an increase in particular in the number of flights on inner-European routes and to the American express air cargo hubs of Louisville, Kentucky and Memphis, Tennessee.”

An additional factor that contributed to the growth in the airport’s cargo business was the number of new cargo customers who started using Cologne Bonn more frequently during the last year.

In April, Neos Air was transporting consignments of medical goods from Beijing to the Rhineland region in cargo-only passenger freighters, each carrying up to 40 tonnes of cargo. As well as carrying cargo in the aircraft’s hold, the passenger seating area is made use of too.

Furthermore, a long-standing partner has recently returned to Cologne/Bonn – cargo airline Coyne Airways. In mid-April, Coyne Airways started operating weekly return flights from Cologne/Bonn to Tbilisi.  Overall, air cargo volume increased by 38% in the first quarter, compared to the previous year, to 86,516 tonnes.

Vanneste added: “Apart from passenger transport, the cargo business is our second main source of income and it gives us some stability in difficult economic times such as these. We are expecting a continuation of the positive trend in our cargo business in 2021, with more than 900,000 tonnes of goods.”

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