Frankfurt maintains its position as Europe’s busiest cargo airport

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Frankfurt Airport Cargo City South

Frankfurt Airport has maintained its position as Europe’s busiest cargo airport, having handled just under 2.2 million tonnes in 2017.

Airport operator Fraport reports that volumes increased 3.8 per cent due to the economic upturn causing high demand for airfreight.

It says that the North American market developed positively and after a decline in the previous year, there was dynamic growth in transatlantic flights in 2017.

Cargo volumes grew year-on-year in every month of 2017, with March proving strongest at 10.5 per cent, apart from December, when volumes fell 5.1 per cent compared to 2016.

Fraport Group revenue for 2017 was up 13.5 per cent to €2.93 billion and though consolidated earnings were down 10.1 per cent to €360 million, the airport operator says that compared to adjusted 2016 figures, there was an increase of €60 million, up more than 20 per cent.

Fraport executive board chairman, Dr Stefan Schulte says: “In Frankfurt, the strategic decisions that we have taken are allowing us to benefit from considerable market growth once again, and we can look back on a very strong year indeed.

“Internationally, we achieved important milestones with the operational takeover of 14 Greek airports and the acquisition of two concessions in Brazil.  With these developments, we are securing the Fraport Group’s long-term growth prospects, while diversifying our portfolio with a broader and stronger foundation for the future.”

Frankfurt’s monthly traffic figures for February have also been released, showing cargo increased by 3.2 per cent to 166,959 tonnes and in it handled 337,645 tonnes in January and February, an increase of 2.2 per cent.

Fraport has identified issues that could affect growth including capacity bottlenecks and the euro becoming more expensive, which it says could be why more cargo is being unloaded in Frankfurt and less is being loaded, something it has noticed in January and February.

Better utilisation of freighter aircraft has resulted in above average growth for the segment, though European tonnage dipped due to reduced flights via Moscow and tonnage to and from Africa was down due to fewer connections with Kenya.

Far East traffic increased 1.2 per cent helped by positive trade with countries including China, Japan, South Korea and Vietnam, particularly helped by higher frequencies to and from Osaka.

The Middle East was up nine per cent while North American tonnage grew 2.6 per cent and Latin America by 19.8 per cent.