Airport World editor, Joe Bates, reflects on the importance of cargo to the world’s gateways.
As many of you already know, the last few years have been particularly tough for cargo, with many of the world’s biggest operators – airports, airlines and freight forwarders – feeling the pinch in terms of a dip in traffic.
The downturn in fortunes began with the global financial crisis of 2007-2008, which led to a two-year slump in traffic before a mini-recovery in 2010. Since then, cargo volumes have remained more or less static.
ACI’s preliminary figures for 2012 show that while the world’s top airfreight hubs, Hong Kong (HKG) and Memphis (MEM), achieved growth of 2.2% and 2.5% respectively, more than half of the world’s 30 busiest cargo gateways (57%) reported a decline in tonnage – including six of the top 10.
It was a very different picture in 2007, the last really strong year for freight, when only six of the top 30 biggest cargo performers and just one of the top 10 cargo airports posted negative results.
There were also huge regional differences in performance in 2012, with both Africa (+2.1%) and the Middle East (+4.2%) enjoying healthy upturns in volume, while Europe (-3%) reported a decline and tonnage in Asia-Pacific (+0.5%), Latin America/Caribbean (-0.2%) and North America (+0.2%) remained about the same.
Explaining the 2012 results, ACI’s economics director, Rafael Echevarne, commented: “Amid the significant downside risks in the Euro area and the fiscal deadlock in the United States throughout the year, growth in airfreight came to an overall halt in 2012. However, as the global economy and international trade picks up steam, we are optimistic that we will see higher growth rates for freight traffic in 2013.”
Indeed, the latest ACI/DKMA forecast produced for Airport World (see page 37) predicts that global tonnage will enjoy ‘modest growth’ of around 3.6% per annum over the next five years, including an upturn of around 2.9% this year.
In the light of this new found optimism for airfreight, we thought it only right that we should turn the spotlight on cargo in our first issue of 2013, and contemplate what possibly lies ahead for this important, yet often overlooked side of the business.
As a result, in this issue we discover how the world’s busiest cargo gateways are faring; consider the importance of supply chains; review the success of all-cargo gateways; and round-up some of the latest cargo news from across the globe.
In addition, we hear how TIACA secretary general, Daniel Fernandez, believes that the worst of cargo downturn could be over for the international cargo industry and hopes for a more positive year ahead.
But it’s not all about cargo, as this issue also has features on airport gardens, intermodalism, avian radar, leadership, the A380, airfield safety, retail, infrastructure development and a comprehensive round-up of The Trinity Forum 2013 in Abu Dhabi.
I hope you enjoy this action packed edition, and look forward to seeing you at the Economics and Finance Conference in Singapore.
In this issue:
View from the top
ACI director general, Angela Gittens, reflects on restrictive economic regulation and looks forward to ACI’s Economics & Finance Conference in Singapore.
The real deal
The conference season started early this year with The Trinity Forum held in Abu Dhabi at the end of January. Joe Bates reviews some of the highlights.
DFW CEO, Jeff Fegan, talks to Benet Wilson about the airport’s $2.3 billion capital improvement programme, retirement and his legacy after nearly 20 years in the hot seat.
Changi Airport Group’s CEO, Lee Seow Hiang, discusses infrastructure development, customer service and the importance of being environmentally friendly with Joe Bates.
Big year for Amman
Joe Bates finds out more about the new terminal that promises to create a dynamic new image for Amman’s Queen Alia International Airport.
Six of the best
Steven Thompson reviews the 2012 performance of the world’s busiest cargo gateways and discovers that it has been a difficult 12 months for airfreight.
Turning the corner
Daniel Fernandez, secretary general of The International Air Cargo Association (TIACA), reflects on a challenging operating environment for the industry and the prospect of a more positive year ahead.
ACI cargo trends
ACI projects global air cargo traffic to grow by a modest 3.6% per annum until 2017.
Martin Roebuck takes a closer look at the challenges and opportunities facing a handful of cargo focused airports in Europe and North America.
Are airports doing enough to develop multi-modal supply chains for cargo? Ian Putzger investigates.
A round-up of the latest news from across the globe.
Traffic trends: 2012 cargo statistics
ACI’s preliminary data for 2012 reveals a contrasting year for airports.
An increasing number of airports are investing in vertical gardens and living walls to create a unique setting, make themselves more environmentally friendly and, even grow their own food, writes Robin Stone.
Access all areas
Foster + Partners CEO, Mouzhan Majidi, talks about the importance of planning airports with user-friendly, integrated transport links and the potential benefits of the proposed Thames Estuary Airport in the UK.
Time for a re-think?
Exambela Consulting’s David Feldman argues that airport leaders may need to adapt business strategies to concentrate more on the mid-term for their gateways to thrive in an age of uncertainty.
Land of the giants
Chris Kjelgaard discovers that airports continue to upgrade their facilities to handle the A380, six years after the super-jumbo entered service.
Clear and present danger
Blair Watson provides an update on the development, capabilities and deployment of avian radar at airports in the battle to avoid bird strikes.
Foreign Object Debris (FOD) detection solutions can help prevent bird strikes at airports, writes Alon Nitzan.
Airport World reviews some of the latest retail and F&B projects and developments across the globe.
Israel is to build a new gateway to cope with tourism demand to Eilat.
ACI’s World Business Partners
The last word
Airport World catches up with Hertz’s Michel Taride, whose executive vice president and president role ensures he has responsibility for over 130 countries.
ACI traffic trends