European airports see 1.8% cargo volume decline in Q1 2019

Freight traffic at Europe’s airports fell by 1.8% during the first quarter of 2019 although Belgian freighter-friendly hub Liège saw volumes surge by 12.5%.

The latest report by European airport trade body ACI Europe, said: “The decline in freight traffic in Q1 was all down to the European Union (EU) market (-2.6%) as non-EU airports remained positive (+1.8%).

“However, March saw freight traffic across Europe improving slightly (-0.2%) compared to preceding months, with both non-EU (+3.3%) and EU (-1.2%) posting better results.

“Among the top ten European airports for freight traffic, only four posted positive results in Q1: Liège (+12.5%), Istanbul-Ataturk (+6.6%), Madrid-Barajas (+5.7%) and Kazan (+3.8%).”

In a first results posting beyond the first quarter, German hub Frankfurt saw cargo throughput (airfreight + airmail) in April fall by 6% to 178,342 tonnes, and down by 3.3% for the January to April period to 705,000 tonnes.

A spokesperson for the Europe’s largest cargo airport by freight volumes blamed April’s decrease on “weaker global trade and the later occurrence of the Easter holidays”.

April’s disappointing decline came after Frankfurt’s 0.5% year-on-year increase in March to 198,700 tonnes, when the hub registered its first cargo increase in 2019.

London Heathrow airport saw its cargo volumes fall 5.9% year on year in April to 132,893 tonnes, and down by 3% to 541,00 tonnes for the first four months of 2019.

Europe’s other major cargo airport are set to issue their April throughput statistics in the coming days.