Cargo volume last year remained more or less at 2010 and 2011 levels, ACI said in a media release. Most regions remained relatively weak in their year-over-year growth rates, and half of the airports in the top 30 busiest cargo airports list experienced declines in 2012.
On a regional basis, the Middle Eastern airports registered the brightest performance with year-over-year growth of about 5 percent in 2012 to reach 5 million metric tons, ACI said.
Airports in Asia-Pacific saw cargo volume in 2012 exceeding 29.88 million metric tons for a 0.4 percent growth, while North American airports processed over 26.7 million metric tons for a 0.2 percent volume increase. Handling 16.97 million metric tons, European airports saw an overall contraction of 2.6 percent in cargo traffic.
The world’s busiest airport in 2012 based on cargo traffic was Hong Kong with 4.06 million metric tons handled for a 2.2 percent growth from 2011, followed by Memphis, which handled 4.01 million metric tons for a 2.5 percent growth.
The third busiest was Shanghai, whose cargo contracted by 5.3 percent in 2012 at 2.93 million metric tons; followed by Incheon which processed 2.45 million metric tons, a decline of 3.3 percent; Anchorage with 2.44 million metric tons, a drop of 3.7 percent; Dubai with 2.26 million metric tons to post a 3.1 growth; and Louisville with 2.16 million metric tons representing a 0.9 percent decline.
Rounding off the top 10 were Paris with 2.15 million metric tons handled, a slide of 6.5 percent; Frankfurt with 2.06 million metric tons and a dip of 6.7 percent, and Tokyo, which served 2 million metric tons for a 3.1 percent growth.
“Air cargo had mixed results throughout 2012 with some months showing modest gains while other months posting declines,” said ACI World’s director of economics Rafael Echevarne. “Amid the significant downside risks in the Euro area and the fiscal deadlock in the United States that remained omnipresent throughout the year, growth in the air cargo market came to an overall halt in 2012.”
But Echevarne said that as the global economy and international trade gradually pick up steam, the association is optimistic of seeing stronger demand for air transport in the latter half of 2013.