Freight traffic across European airports fell for the first time in three years in November due to the challenging geopolitical and economic environment, Airports Council International (ACI) Europe reports.
Among EU airports, freight traffic was down 2.1% and non-EU airports were up 3.6%, with Liege Airport, Istanbul Ataturk and Madrid Airport the only top 10 airports seeing volumes increase.
All the other top 10 airports saw volumes declining in November, with some seeing quite substantial falls.
Frankfurt Airport, Europe’s busiest freight hub was down 1.7% to 185,985 tonnes, followed by Paris Charles de Gaulle down 5% to 173,100 tonnes.
Amsterdam Airport Schiphol saw a small drop of 0.8% to 143,974 tonnes while Heathrow Airport was down 10.4% to 138,291 tonnes.
The other top 10 airports to see volumes falling were Luxembourg Airport by 3.1% to 80,764 tonnes, Cologne-Bonn Airport by 0.7% to 77,939 tonnes and Milan Malpensa Airport by 2.8% to 47,573 tonnes.
Among the top 10 airports that saw growth, Istanbul Ataturk was up 6.9% to 109,624 tonnes, Liege by 17.9% to 83,480 tonnes and Madrid by 8% to 46,911 tonnes.
Olivier Jankovec, director general of ACI Europe warns that aviation in Europe is facing a slowdown.
He says: “We are facing a Eurozone close to stagnation with business confidence now at a 4-year low, coupled with global growth losing momentum in a synchronised way and a slowdown in trade. While all of this is only taking its toll on freight traffic for now, there is no doubt that passenger demand levels are going to feel the effects at some point.”
Jankovec says a no-deal Brexit is the most immediate risk for EU airports, with the prospect of a capacity freeze on all routes.
He says: “If confirmed, UK airports would of course be the hardest hit, but many airports across the EU27 would also suffer – especially in Ireland and Spain, as well as smaller regional airports elsewhere that depend on UK traffic.”