Weak international volumes drive declines in April airport tonnage 

Global airports’ preliminary results indicate continued declines in the international air cargo market for April, despite the slight reprieve experienced last month with a resurgence of volumes. Overall, airports will likely continue to experience volatility in volumes for the first half of 2019.  

On a regional basis, airports in Europe and Asia posted declines in volumes across the board, while North American airports posted mixed results. As reported by our sister site, Cargo Factstraffic fell across the board for global carriers in April, which contributed to the continued decline in volumes at airports in Asia and Europe. Despite heavy hits to international cargo volumes, some North American airports reported growth driven by domestic cargo volumes. 

Now onto April airport traffic on a regional basis:   


Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport (CAN) reported its April cargo throughput increased 1.7% y-o-y to 158,668 tonnes. Increases in both imports and exports contributed to this growth. For the full year, CAN’s cargo handle increased 1.8% to 588,810 tonnes. However, month-to-month cargo volumes at the airport declined 4.7% from March to April. 

Seoul Incheon Airport (ICN) saw its cargo handle drop 7.5% y-o-y in April to 227,960 tonnes. For 2019 year-to-date, ICN’s cargo handle was down 6.7% y-o-y to 876,917 tonnes.   

Shanghai Pudong International Airport (PVG) cargo volumes declined by 9.7% y-o-y for the month of April, to 293,900 tonnes of cargo, with declines in both domestic and international volumes contributing to this trend. Year-to-date, cargo volumes have declined 9.2% to 1.099 million tonnes of cargo. Month-to-month volumes declined by 6.5% from March to April.  

Singapore (SIN) reported its April cargo handle declined 12.8% y-o-y to around 160,000 tonnes. For the first four months of the year, SIN’s handle was down about 5.8% to around 650,000 tonnes 


Amsterdam Airport Schiphol’s (AMS) cargo handle fell 9.3% y-o-y in April, to 139,697 tonnes. For the full year, AMS’s cargo handle fell 8.5% to 557,054 tonnes. Although AMS posted overall declines y-o-y for the month in both inbound and outbound cargo of 11.1% and 9.3%, respectively, inbound cargo from the Middle East increased 7.1%, while outbound volumes to North America increased y-o-y by 6.6%.   

Frankfurt Airport (FRA) reported a 6.3% decline in its y-o-y cargo handle for April, to 174,895 tonnes. For the first four months of 2019, FRA’s cargo handle declined 2.8% to 693,923 tonnes. FRA attributed the decline to weaker global trade and the later occurrence of the Easter holidays. 

London’s Heathrow Airport (LHR) reported a 5.9% decrease y-o-y in its April cargo handle, to 132,893 tonnes. Volumes at the airport were down 3.0% for the year so far, compared to the same period in 2018. Regionally, volumes to and from Africa, Latin America and the Middle East were up for the month, compared to the same period the year prior, while cargo to all other regions declined.   

Vienna Airport’s (VIE’s) cargo handle fell 7.3% y-o-y in April, to 23,389 tonnes. For January through April, VIE’s air cargo handle declined 3.4% to 90,030 tonnes, compared to the same period the year prior.   


Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky (CVG) reported that its cargo volumes increased 6.5% y-o-y in April and reached 107,442 tonnes in throughput. Year-to-date, cargo volumes are up 5.8% at the airport, continuing the airport’s tonnage growth since January.   

Ontario International Airport (ONT) handled 61,813 tonnes of cargo, resulting in a 11.0% increase in April cargo volumes over the year prior. Freight volumes at the airport grew 11.8% y-o-y for the month, while mail volumes declined by 5.4% y-o-y. ONT’s cargo handle year-to-date increased 3.4% y-o-y to about 225,867 tonnes.   

Los Angeles (LAX) reported a 3.1% decrease y-o-y in its April cargo handle, to 190,291 tonnes. Volumes at the airport were down 2.8% for the first four months of the year, compared to the same period in 2018.   

Miami International Airport’s (MIA’s) cargo handle saw a slight increase of 0.7% y-o-y in April to 202,253 tonnes. International cargo volumes, which comprise the majority of cargo moving through MIA, flatlined with a slight decline around 0.1% y-o-y to 172,149 tonnes, while domestic volumes increased 5.2% y-o-y to 30,104 tonnes. For 2019 year-to-date, MIA’s cargo handle was down about 1.0% to 788,527 tonnes.   

Seattle-Tacoma International Airport’s (SEA’s) cargo handle increased 3.7% y-o-y in April to 34,573 tonnes. Freight volumes at the airport by 3.9% in April overall – domestic freight increased by 9.8% y-o-y while international freight volumes declined by 6.3% y-o-y. Year-to-date, SEA’s cargo handle rose 3.5% to 133,051 tonnes, compared to the same period the year prior. 

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