Home » Aviation, Breaking News » HKIA still world’s busiest cargo airport

Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) remains the world’s largest air cargo center, even as global cargo volume growth has worryingly weakened, according to Airports Council International (ACI).

Global passenger traffic remains resilient, meanwhile, with Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta Airport keeping its title as the world’s busiest passenger air hub.

In publishing its airport traffic rankings ACI said passenger traffic remained resilient in 2018 and was estimated to have reached 8.8 billion, growing by an estimated 6% as compared to the previous year. This increase is above the 4.3% compound annual growth rate for passenger traffic from 2007 to 2017.

The air cargo market did not fare as well, with a year-end growth figure of 3.2%. This is in contrast to a much stronger year of growth in 2017 but comes against a backdrop of global trade tension between the United States and several of its closest trade partners.

Passenger traffic at the world’s 20 busiest airports—which represent 17% of all global passenger traffic—grew by 4.7% in 2018 as more than 1.5 billion passengers used these airports.

Of these, Atlanta airport kept the top place and handled over 107 million passengers for a 3.3% growth, while Beijing Capital International Airport surpassed the 100 million passengers mark in 2018, growing by 5.4% and holding onto second spot. Dubai International Airport remained in third position, growing by 1%.

Rounding off the top 20 are Los Angeles International Airport, Tokyo International (Haneda) Airport, O’Hare International Airport, Heathrow Airport, HKIA, Pudong International Airport, Aeroport de Paris-Charles de Gaulle, Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, Indira Gandhi International Airport, Guangzhou Bai Yun International Airport, Flughafen Frankfurt/Main, Dallas/F Worth International Airport, Incheon International Airport, Ataturk International Airport, Soekarno-Hatta International Airport, Singapore International Airport, and Denver International Airport.

Total air cargo volume at the 20 busiest airports—representing 42% of all global air cargo volumes—grew a modest 1.3% as they handled a combined 51 million metric tonnes of cargo. This comes after a year where global cargo volumes rose markedly by 7.7% in 2017.

Of these airports, HKIA remains the largest air cargo center, handling more than 5 million metric tonnes of cargo in 2018 and its volume growing 1.4% against 2017.

Memphis International Airport was in second place with growth of 3.1%, and Shanghai Pudong International Airport was third, with a decline in cargo volumes in 2018 of -1.5% after growing by 11.2% in 2017.

Ranked fourth through 20th are Incheon International Airport, Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport, Dubai International Airport, Louisville International Airport, Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport, Narita International Airport, Los Angeles International Airport, Hamad International Airport, Singapore Changi Airport, Flughafen Frankfurt/Main, Aeroport de Paris-Charles de Gaulle, Miami International Airport, Beijing Capital International Airport, Guangzhou Bai Yun International Airport, O’Hare International Airport, Heathrow Airport, and Amsterdam Airport Schiphol.

“It is heartening to see that global passenger traffic growth has remained resilient in the face of an increasingly tense and challenging geopolitical climate,” ACI world director general Angela Gittens said.

For cargo, the picture was not as good against a backdrop of global trade tension, she further said. “The ongoing trade war between the United States and several of its closest trade partners was a shock for the industry and global supply chains.”

In other significant findings, India became the world’s third-largest aviation market in terms of passenger throughput, behind the U.S. and China in 2018. India’s move towards a more liberalized aviation market and the nation’s strengthening economic fundamentals have helped it become one of the fastest-growing markets with its traffic growing rapidly in a relatively short time.

Additionally, despite signs of weakness in the cargo market, a number of airports stand out with Doha, Qatar’s main hub, continuing to be one of the fastest-growing airports in the world for air cargo throughput and is also among the busiest. It moved from 16th to 11th in the rankings.

Photo: Baycrest

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