Freight volumes continue to improve at European airports, but the rate of improvement has slowed, according to data from Airports Council International (ACI) Europe.
The ACI Europe October data shows the continent has achieved double-digit improvements on 2011 with October 2014, in terms of volumes of freight handled, and for the year-to-date (YTD). Comparing the two Octobers, the jump was 12.4 per cent and the YTD result was the same.
In the years since 2011, 2014’s rise by comparison has almost halved every year, suggesting that improvments are slowing. Either volumes are returning to pre-financial crisis levels or growth is slowing down because of further economic troubles. This year, compared to 2012, has a rise of 7.9 per cent and against 2013 it is 3.1 per cent.
Looking across the months during the years since 2011, the ACI’s October data chart for total freight development, shows volumes shrinking to a various degree from January until the fourth quarter for 2012 and 2013, which itself begins to see positive growth in the second half. This followed a 2011 that saw high historical levels of growth until July when volumes shrank. The good news for 2014 is that it is the first year when no negative growth has been seen, overall.
Of the group one airports in Europe, those with more than 25 million passengers a year, the freight winners when comparing October this year with 2013 are, Paris Orly Airport, Antalya Airport, Istanbul Ataturk Airport and Heathrow Airport. All of them, except Heathrow, achieved double-digit growth, however, Heathrow handled 134,453 tonnes, while the next largest volume for an airport with positive growth is Ataturk at 62,914 tonnes – less than half. Only Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport had a higher volume than Heathrow at 164,518 tonnes, but it had a dip of one per cent.
The group one airports that have not fared so well compared to October 2013 are Moscow Sheremetyevo International Airport, down minus 16.5 per cent, Moscow Domodedovo Airport down minus five per cent and Gatwick Airport is minus 10 per cent. Gatwick saw volumes fall by about 10 per cent for the YTD too.
Of the significant cargo gateways beyond group one, Luxembourg Airport, East Midlands Airport, Cologne Bonn Airport and Pristina International Airport, their growth has mostly been stagnant or muted. Luxembourg, 1.9 per cent, Cologne, 0.7 per cent, and Pristina, 0.4 per cent. Only the UK’s East Midlands fares well at 4.4 per cent.
The slow improvement in Europe’s airports reflects data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA). According to IATA, airfreight in October returned to levels not seen since the 2010 bounce-back.