Trade downturns persist in July airport volumes 

Airports posted their preliminary results for July volumes that indicated a continued weakness in global markets resulting from protective trade policies and political uncertainty. 

Asian and European airports’ results denoted those regions are experiencing the greatest impact of continued trade conflicts for the month, which was also reflected the traffic of carriers based in those regions. Only Guangzhou Baiyun (CAN) and Frankfurt (FRA) stood out as experiencing slight growth for the month of July. Meanwhile, North American airports saw a slight rebound in cargo volumes for the month, though any significant impact to year-to-date volumes will require continued growth over the next few months. 

Now onto July airport throughput on a regional basis:      


Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport (CAN) reported its July cargo throughput increased 0.8% y-o-y to 156,950 tonnes. Decreases in exports of 4.6% y-o-y offset the 4.0% y-o-y decline in imports to bring this growth for the month. For the full year, CAN’s cargo handle increased 0.2% y-o-y to 1.0 million tonnes.    

Seoul Incheon Airport (ICN) reported its total cargo handle at about 230,744 tonnes for July, down 8.1% from its July 2018 reported volumes. Year-to-date throughput is down 7.2% compared to the first seven months of 2018, at 1.5 million tonnes.   

Shanghai Pudong International Airport (PVG)’s Pactl reported a July cargo handle of about 309,000 tonnes, marking a y-o-y decline of 3.1%. Year-to-date, Pactl’s cargo throughput fell 7.3% through July, to about 2.0 million tonnes.   

Singapore Changi Airport (SIN) reported its July cargo handle declined 7.2% y-o-y to around 170,000 tonnes. For the first seven months of the year, SIN’s handle was down about 5.7% to around 1.2 million tonnes.     


Amsterdam Airport Schiphol (AMS) saw a 10.5% decline in cargo volume for the month, dropping to 129,000 tonnes of cargo. Its mail volume increased, though, rising 14.2% y-o-y to 1,870 tonnes. Inbound cargo dropped across the board, except from the Middle East, which rose 16.0%. Outbound cargo also dropped across the board. Year-to-date cargo volumes have declined by 9.4% compared to the same period in 2018, bringing total volumes at the airport to 896,662 tonnes of cargo.   

Frankfurt Airport (FRA) saw a 1.5% increase in July’s cargo volumes with a count that totals to about 178,652 tonnes. Both airfreight and airmail volumes were up slightly for the month, by 1.5% and 1.6% y-o-y, respectively. Direct volumes at FRA to and from Northeast Asia dropped for the month by 8.5% y-o-y, though this negative trend was offset by an increase in inbound cargo from Africa by 15.9% y-o-y for the month. Cargo to Latin America and the Middle East from the airport also declined by 10.2% and 1.7% y-o-y, respectively, in July. FRA attributed overall declines in its cargo handle to continued global trade conflicts, crisis in the automotive industry, and political insecurity. For the seven months of 2019, cargo volumes have declined by 2.2% y-o-y at the airport to 1.2 million tonnes.   

London’s Heathrow Airport (LHR) saw a 6.9% y-o-y decline in July cargo volumes to 130,589 tonnes.  Year-to-date, LHR’s handle declined 4.6% compared to the same period in 2018.    

Vienna Airport’s (VIE’s) cargo handle fell 8.4% y-o-y in July, to 23,348 tonnes. For January through July, VIE’s air cargo handle declined 5.2% to 159,332 tonnes, compared to the same period the year prior.      


Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky (CVG) reported that its cargo volumes decreased 0.6% y-o-y in July and reached 100,466 tonnes in throughput. Year-to-date, cargo volumes are up 2.4% at the airport to 719,330 tonnes, continuing the airport’s tonnage growth since January.      

Ontario International Airport (ONT) handled 64,343 tonnes of cargo, marking slight growth of 1.8% in July cargo volumes over the year prior. Freight volumes at the airport grew 3.0% y-o-y for the month, while mail volumes saw a steep decline. ONT’s cargo handle year-to-date increased 3.4% y-o-y to 428,994 tonnes.      

Seattle-Tacoma International Airport’s (SEA’s) cargo handle increased 6.7% y-o-y in July to 47,469 tonnes. Freight volumes at the airport decreased by 9.0% in July overall – domestic freight declined by 4.7% y-o-y while international freight volumes increased by 13.8% y-o-y. Year-to-date, SEA’s cargo handle rose 2.1% to 257,797 tonnes, compared to the same period the year prior.    

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