ACI: strong growth of 5.9% in September

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Frankfurt Airport

Airfreight volumes surged by 5.9 per cent in September, according to the Airports Council International (ACI) and for once the Middle East was not the main driver of growth.

ACI says international freight grew by seven per cent compared to domestic growth of 3.3 per cent, which has helped airfreight volumes inch up 1.8 per cent since the beginning of the year.

The association explains the strong growth in September was mainly due to a strengthening of the international freight market and the surge in demand for electronic devices coming out of Asia.

All regions observed gains in airfreight traffic for the month of September except Africa that recorded a loss of 4.2 per cent.

Europe had the highest growth (+7.6 per cent) followed by Asia-Pacific and North America with robust increases of 6.7 per cent and 5.5 per cent respectively. Latin America-Caribbean and the Middle East experienced 3.1 per cent growth in traffic.

ACI notes out of the top 20 airfreight hubs, 15 hubs reported growth of over five per cent and two saw slight losses, adding: “Because airfreight is highly concentrated, with the top 20 occupying almost half of global volumes, the strong growth among the major airports increased the global growth figure. While the increase in volumes is cause for optimism, it is still too early to identify a sustained recovery.”

In Africa, significant losses were recorded in Kenya (-10.6 per cent or -2,460 tonnes) and South Africa (-7.9 per cent or -2,310 tonnes). The two major airfreight hubs of the region Nairobi and Johannesburg lost 7.7 per cent (-1,630 tonnes) and 10.3 per cent (-2,830 tonnes) of volumes year-over-year. Cairo is recovering with six per cent growth in compared to the previous year (+1,270 tonnes).

In Asia-Pacific, India, Korea and China were the main contributors to September’s growth (9.3 per cent, 7.2 per cent and 6.7 per cent respectively). The surge in volumes coincided with the release and replacement of mobile devices such as the Galaxy Note 7 and iPhone 7.

In Europe, all major freight hubs showed an increase in activity. Germany, France and the UK saw 6.6 per cent, 5.1 per cent and 6.7 per cent growth in September. However, the main drivers were the double-digit growth rates at airports in Turkey, Italy, Spain, Luxembourg, Russia and Switzerland (19 per cent, 10.8 per cent, 13.5 per cent, 14.1 per cent, 20.9 per cent and 14.2 per cent, respectively).

In Latin America-Cairbbean, the three largest markets of Colombia, Mexico and Brazil showed mixed results in September. Colombia plunged into the negative territory at -0.7 per cent (-550 tonnes), Mexico grew by a strong 10.8 per cent (+6,640 tonnes) and Brazil showed signs of recovery (-2.4 per cent or + 1,500 tonnes).

In the Middle East, United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Qatar reported mixed results with six airports in the UAE seeing a loss of 2.7 per cent (-9,970 tonnes) in volumes compared to the previous year, Doha grew 16.3 per cent (+20,360 tonnes). Strong growth was also recorded in Israel (+24.8 per cent or + 5,130 tonnes) and Oman (+19.8 per cent or +2,165 tonnes).

The major drivers of North American traffic were Chicago-O’Hare (+16 per cent or +22,500 tonnes), Anchorage (+5.6 per cent or +11,700 tonnes) and Los Angeles (+5.9 per cent or +9,000 tonnes). Memphis (-0.8 per cent or -3,070 tonnes) and Louisville (+4.6 per cent or +8,930 tonnes) showed mixed results.