ACE Awards 2017: Winners for top airports

The large airport category produced seven Certificates of Excellence, including Beijing, Taipei, Hong Kong, Singapore, Paris Charles de Gaulle, Amsterdam and Tokyo-Narita.

Lim Ching Kiat, managing director of air hub development for Singapore’s Changi Airport, said the facility achieved an all-time high of 1.97 million tonnes of airfreight throughput last year. “We also welcomed two new freighter airlines – Silk Way West and Neptune Air – and saw the return of K-Mile to our family of airlines,” he added. As one of the first airports to experiment with the “cargo community” concept, Changi has been instrumental in the formation of IATA’s CEIV-Pharma certification, and joined Pharma.Aero to share best practices for pharmaceutical handling. In October 2016, DHL Express officially opened its South Asia Hub, a 24-hour express hub facility located within Changi Airfreight Center. SATS’ eCommerce AirHub is also expected to open this year.

Amsterdam’s Schiphol succeeded in signing up 13 companies to take part in the Pharma Gateway Amsterdam initiative to earn CEIV-Pharma certification. As a staunch supporter in the sharing of operational data, Schiphol also runs the Smart Cargo Mainport Program, which works with Dutch Customs and other supply chain stakeholders, like KLM Cargo, Jan de Rijk Logistics, Cargonaut, Swissport and Kuehne+Nagel, to create more efficient systems. Last year, the group helped to create a program to separate cargo trucks arriving with goods from Frankfurt by connection time, prioritizing those with greater time pressure.

The Diamond Award winner in the mid-size airport category (400,000 to 999,999 tonnes), Liège Airport comes as no surprise, as the Belgian hub has won the European category for several years, with scores regularly in the 120s.

The Platinum Award winner, however, is a newcomer to the ACE ranks: Cologne-Bonn. With an overall score of 116, CGN has greatly improved its Performance (118) and Facilities (120) scores following recent improvements of the existing cargo facilities, plus the extension of the border inspection post facilities and the restructuring of the cargo ramps, said Torsten Wefers, the airport’s interim director cargo and sales.

Rounding out the smaller airport category (up to 399,999 tonnes), San Juan, Puerto Rico, with its thriving pharma traffic, was the clear Diamond Award winner, with 119 overall points, followed by Brazil’s Campinas Airport – last year’s Diamond winner in the Latin America category – winning the Platinum Award. Portland International, which just missed winning a Certificate last year, reached the Gold Award level this time with 107 points. Performance at PDX was scored at 116 points this year, perhaps since freighter service from Cathay Pacific was added to the Oregon hub last November.

Finally, it was especially gratifying to see Brussels Airport listed as one of our Certificate of Excellence winners for 2016. While many airports had struggled in 2016, few can match the misery that befell Brussels last year when it was attacked by terrorists, who killed 17 passengers. The cargo facility suffered a distinct slowdown in the first half of the year. However, according to Steven Polmans, head of cargo at BRU, a second-half surge helped end the year with a 1.1 percent rise in cargo throughput, compared to 2015. “The loss caused by the departure of Jet Airways and the impact of the attacks were compensated on a full-year basis,” he said, mostly due to a 35 percent rise in pharma exports last year.

Let’s hope the performance of BRU in the face of such adversity sets an example of the resiliency of the entire airfreight industry as it continues to face headwinds from anti-trade rhetoric.

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