HK airport remains busiest cargo airport in 2023

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HK airport remains busiest cargo airport in 2023
Image by David Z from Pixabay
  • Hong Kong International Airport remained the busiest cargo airport in 2023 based on the latest preliminary data from Airports Council International (ACI) World
  • Global air cargo volumes are estimated to have dropped by 3.1% year-on-year to 113 million metric tons in 2023
  • The decline was attributed to ongoing geopolitical tensions and disruptions to global trade and supply chains
  • For the passenger segment, the US’s Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport remained on top

Hong Kong International Airport remained the busiest cargo airport in 2023, based on the latest preliminary data from Airports Council International (ACI) World.

The airport handled 4,331,976 metric tons in 2023, up 3.2% year-on-year.

Global air cargo volumes are estimated to have dropped by 3.1% year-on-year, to 113 million metric tons in 2023, according to ACI. Against 2019 figures (pre-pandemic), 2023 volumes are down 4.6%.

ACI attributed the decline to ongoing geopolitical tensions and disruptions to global trade and supply chains.

“Notably cargo continues to play a key role in world commerce,” even with the year-on-year slide in volumes, said ACI World director general Luis Felipe de Oliveira.

Joining Hong Kong in the top cargo airports list are:

  • Memphis International Airport, USA
  • Shanghai Pudong International Airport
  • Anchorage Airport, USA
  • Incheon International Airport
  • Louisville, USA
  • Miami, USA
  • Doha, Qatar
  • Los Angeles, USA
  • Taipei, Taiwan

In the top 10 airports for air cargo volumes, 3.5% was lost in 2023 year-on-year. The 29.6 million metric tons represent some 26% of the global volume last year.

Busiest passenger airports

For the passenger segment, the US’s Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport remained on top, with Dubai International Airport jumping to second place for the first time, surpassing Dallas Fort Worth International Airport, which slid to third place.

The fourth to tenth busiest passenger airports are:

  • London, UK
  • Tokyo, Japan
  • Denver, USA
  • Istanbul, Turkey
  • Los Angeles, USA
  • Chicago, USA
  • New Delhi, India

The biggest jump was Tokyo Haneda International Airport, which rose from 16th position in 2022 to fifth place last year.

The top 10 airports representing close to 10% of global traffic (806 million passengers) posted a gain of 19.8% from 2022 or a rise of 0.7% vis-à-vis their 2019 results (801 million passengers).

While US airports continue to dominate the top 10 busiest airports (five out of 10 in the list), “there are noticeable shifts.”

The top 10 busiest airports worldwide saw significant shifts driven by resurgence of global air travel, according to ACI.

De Oliveira said global air travel last year “was chiefly fueled by the international segment, propelled by several factors.” These include anticipation from China’s reopening and a growing inclination towards travel despite macroeconomic conditions.

ACI World said international traffic recovery drew nearer to domestic travel, “emphasizing its essential role in propelling the industry’s resurgence and expansion.”

The domestic market grew by 20.2% (a recovery of 96.8% of the 2019 level), the international market drove recovery with a 36.5% growth (90.4% of the 2019 level).

The forecast for global total passengers this year is estimated at almost 8.5 billion, a 27.2% rise from 2022 or an impressive recovery of 93.8% from pre-pandemic levels (2019).

Aircraft movements

For international aircraft movements, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport remained on top, followed by Chicago O’Hare at second place, and Dallas Fort Worth International Airport at third spot.

Almost 95 million aircraft movements were recorded last year, representing a gain of 11.8% from the previous year. This was a recovery of 92.7% from pre-pandemic levels.

The top 10 airports in terms of aircraft movements represent more than 6% of global traffic, or six million movements, showing a gain of 7.4% from 2022, or a recovery of 96.4%.

De Oliveira said the rankings “highlight the crucial role these transportation hubs play in global connectivity, commerce, and economic development.”

He added that airports continue to demonstrate their resilience and adaptability “amidst the challenges posed by the ever-evolving landscape of global travel.”

The airport rankings are based on data gathered from over 2,600 airports across more than 180 countries and territories globally.

READ: Global air cargo demand surges 18.4% in Jan