Biggest improvement since 2010
In 2016 almost all of the old continent’s airports did better in their airfreight segments than they had done for many years – despite the strong political and economic uncertainty. The old and new leader once again rose above the 2 million t mark; in the meantime there are five gateways that report throughput of more than 1 million t, as well as a handful of hidden champions with ambitious aims.
Frankfurt airport believes the reason why its cargo sector is flying so high is on account of “growing world trade, high export demand stimulated by the euro-area’s weak currency, and continued strong growth of the German economy.” Other national hubs, such as CGN, MUC and LEJ, which broke through the 1 million t barrier for the first time, grew at even higher rates, however.
Recovery in France and Italy
There were 27 European airports that handled 100,000 t in annual airfreight throughput in the continent (same as last year); but France had less hubs in the list. Paris Orly as the last-ranked gateway made heavy losses of –7.2%, with volumes coming to 108,328 t. The provinces did better, with Toulouse (+10.8%, to 65,025 t), Marseille (+7.1%, to 55,891 t) and Lyon (+10.3%, to 55,429 t) improving performances.
With MXP, Rome FCO (21st, +12.1% growth to 154,977 t) and Bergamo (25th, –2.7% to 117,660 t) Italy, our second special focus of this issue (see supplement), had three hubs that handled more than 100,000 t of freight last year. In Italy too growth is strongest at smaller regional hubs such as Venice (+14.9% to 48,922 t) or Bologna (+21.3% to 37,430 t).
Other southern European hubs in the euro area were also happy to register more airfreight. Athens airport (+10.5% to about 79,301 t) and Barcelona (22nd, +13.3% to 132,754 t) grew more impressively than the capital’s gateway, which resulted in the latter slipping by one place.
Small(er) providers growing
Copenhagen was a winner, easily growing most in the north. Declines in every Norwegian centre were most striking there, with Oslo, the largest and best-known gateway, reporting the biggest decline (–15% to 92,972 t). The EU member state’s capitals of Budapest (73,488 t), Prague (63,925 t) and Warsaw (72,185 t), in contrast (none of them in the euro area), stayed on the path observed last year, with 18.1%, 45.7% and 23.9% increases respectively (see also page 14 of ITJ 35-36 / 2016).
Katowice (+19% to 15,171 t) and Wrocław (+651% to 2,517 t) shone in Poland – but the latter from a very low level. Volumes grew further east too. We will take a closer look at developments there in our Eastern Europe Special in ITJ 15-16 / 2017.