The top airport ACE Awards were broken into both size and regional categories. For the largest category of airports – those that handled 1 million tonnes or more last year – a total of three Diamond Awards were distributed among three separate regions.
For the Asia region, Incheon International Airport edged out perennial favorite Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) to take the Diamond Award. HKIA, which earned a Certificate of Excellence, has also been the world’s busiest cargo airport since 2010, handling 4.38 million tonnes of cargo in 2015. To meet long-term air traffic demand, Airport Authority Hong Kong (AA) has been planning to expand HKIA into a three-runway system, which is expected to be completed in eight years.
The top large European airport was Amsterdam Airport Schiphol for the third straight year. For North America, the winner was multiple Diamond Award winner and FedEx hub Memphis International Airport.
In the medium-size category – airports that handled 400,000 to 999,999 tonnes last year – the up-and-coming Liège Airport took the Diamond Award by scoring the highest overall index of 123. The top North American counterpart in the category was Indianapolis International Airport, also with an impressive score of 121 points.
Brussels Airport, already well-known for its pioneering CEIV program, earned a Certificate of Excellence for mid-range European hubs, with close to 8 percent growth in cargo volumes, thanks to increased integrator traffic, belly freight and full-freighter traffic from four new freighter destinations added last year. Luxembourg also managed to impress with a mid-size airport Certificate win despite not appearing in last year’s ACE Awards. In 2015, the airport’s cargo facility, LuxairCargo, handled 759,000 tons of airfreight, a 5 percent increase over 2014, and made substantial investments in its temperature-controlled pharma and healthcare center infrastructure.
For the smaller airports, which handle up to 399,999 tonnes annually, Zurich Airport won the Diamond Award for the second year in a row in the Europe category. Markus Heinelt, director of traffic development, cargo, at Munich Airport, said he was pleased to see the facility earn a Certificate of Excellence in the category, as 2015 was “a record year for Munich Airport’s cargo sector due to increased belly capacities and overall capacity growth from new freighter services,” which led to 8.7 percent growth in cargo volume.