Cargo boom hands Hong Kong number one spot

ASIA-Pacific airlines saw cargo demand grow by 24.2 per cent in 2010, helping to position Hong Kong International as the world’s largest cargo airport.

The airport’s cargo alone grew 23.4 per cent to 4.1 million metric tons, while Memphis International Airport, holder of the largest cargo airport title for the last 18 years, grew only 5.9 per cent to 3.9 million metric tons.

Cathay Pacific Airways became the world’s biggest international air cargo carrier last year thanks in part to escalating exports from China’s Pearl River Delta. The airline’s cargo traffic rose 23 per cent to 10.2 million ton-kilometres, beating Korean Air Lines, previously the largest.

Cathay expects to boost cargo capacity about eight per cent this year. The carrier is also forming a cargo venture with affiliate Air China to access hubs in Shanghai and Beijing, while also building its own freight terminal at Hong Kong airport.

China’s economy expanded 10.3 per cent in 2010, the fastest in three years. The growth of production in the Pearl River Delta, which neighbours Hong Kong, has lured investment from international air cargo carriers, including FedEx and United Parcel Service, which have both opened hubs in the region.

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