Airports’ lackluster year continues with August volume declines

Preliminary results for August airport volumes worldwide are out, indicating continued market weakness across the globe. While air cargo holds out hope for conservative increases in volumes moving into the holiday season, the industry is also no longer holding its breath given continued tensions between China and the U.S. and looming Brexit concerns.

All regions posted declines in volumes for August, with only a handful of airports like Seattle (SEA) and Guangzhou (CAN) reporting increases in volumes. In line with weak reports from European carriers released for August, European airports also saw significant declines in volumes. Meanwhile, despite continued y-o-y declines in tonnage, a slight month-to-month improvement in some Asian airports’ volumes reflected the mixed results seen in traffic from Asian carriers for August. Ultimately airports in Europe were hit hardest for the month, though American airports also showed weak volumes, likely due to the current market environment.

Now to consider August airport traffic on a regional basis:

Asia-Pacific    

Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport (CAN) reported its August cargo throughput increased 1.6% y-o-y to 162,589 tonnes. Increases in exports offset a decrease in imports at CAN for the month. For the full year, CAN’s cargo handle increased 1.2% y-o-y to 1.2 million tonnes.

Seoul Incheon Airport (ICN) reported its total cargo handle at about 227,486 tonnes for August, down 6.1% from its August 2018 reported volumes. Year-to-date traffic is down 7.0% compared to the first eight months of 2018, at 1.8 million tonnes.

Shanghai Pudong International Airport (PVG)’s Pactl reported an August cargo handle of about 297,700 tonnes, marking a y-o-y decline of 5.3%, thanks to decreases in both its domestic and regional cargo volumes by 2.5% and 4.8% y-o-y, respectively. Year-to-date, PVG’s cargo throughput fell 5.6% through August, to about 2.3 million tonnes.

Singapore Changi Airport (SIN) reported its August cargo handle declined 8.0% y-o-y to 169,000 tonnes. For the first eight months of the year, SIN’s handle was down about 5.7% to around 1.3 million tonnes.

Europe    

Amsterdam Airport Schiphol (AMS) saw a 10.9% decline in cargo volume for the month, dropping to 130,581 tonnes of cargo. Its mail volume increased, though, rising 6.0% y-o-y to 1,774 tonnes. Inbound cargo dropped across the board, except from the Middle East, which rose 6.3%. Outbound cargo also dropped across the board. Year-to-date cargo volumes have declined by 9.6% compared to the same period in 2018, bringing total volumes at the airport to just over 1.0 million tonnes of cargo.

Frankfurt Airport (FRA) saw a 5.2% decrease in August’s cargo traffic with a count that totals to about 173,122 tonnes. Airfreight volumes were down 5.5%, while airmail was up 2.5% y-o-y. Direct traffic at FRA to and from Northeast Asia and Latin America dropped for the month by 9.6% and 17.9%, respectively, while airfreight to and from the U.S. saw moderate growth of 1.7%. FRA attributed overall declines in traffic to continued global trade conflicts, crisis in the German automotive industry and political insecurity. For the first eight months of 2019, cargo volumes have declined by 2.6% y-o-y at the airport to 1.4 million tonnes.

London’s Heathrow Airport (LHR) saw a 7.9% y-o-y decline in August cargo volumes to 126,864 tonnes.  Year-to-date, LHR’s handle declined 5.3% to just over 1.0 million tonnes, compared to the same period in 2018.

Vienna Airport’s (VIE’s) cargo handle fell 3.7% y-o-y in August, to 23,575 tonnes. For January through August, VIE’s air cargo handle declined 5.0% to 182,907 tonnes, compared to the same period the year prior.

Americas    

Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky (CVG) reported that its cargo volumes decreased 0.9% y-o-y in August and reached 104,569 tonnes in throughput. Year-to-date, cargo volumes are up 1.9% at the airport to 823,899 tonnes, continuing the airport’s tonnage growth since January.

Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) reported that its cargo volumes dropped 8.4% y-o-y in August to 197,394 tonnes in throughput. Significant declines in both mail and freight volumes contributed to this drop. Year-to-date, cargo volumes are down 4.7% y-o-y at the airport to just over 1.5 million tonnes.

Ontario International Airport (ONT) handled 67,101 tonnes of cargo, declining 1.9% y-o-y in cargo volumes over the year prior. Freight volumes at the airport flatlined at 0.4% y-o-y for the month, while mail volumes saw a steep decline. ONT’s cargo handle year-to-date increased by 2.7% y-o-y to 496,094 tonnes.

Seattle-Tacoma International Airport’s (SEA’s) cargo handle increased 9.6% y-o-y in August to 41,792 tonnes. Freight volumes at the airport increased by 10.5% in August overall – domestic and international freight increased 0.4% and 33.1% y-o-y, respectively. Year-to-date, SEA’s cargo handle rose 3.1% to 299,590 tonnes, compared to the same period the year prior.

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