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The world's top 50 airports

The world's top 50 airports

By Hpanchal on August 25, 2011

“Security is not such a big challenge, as there is a clear concept. Security is being taken very seriously in PVG, and this will be the case in the future, too,” he says.

This year will bring a bit more difficulty for PVG, it seems. According to the PACTL spokesman, the airport experienced 2.9-percent less cargo activity in the first half of 2011 than it did in the first six months of 2010. He can’t put his finger on what has caused this decrease, but suspects the poor global economy and China’s economic deflation policy played a part.

The only thing to do is to soldier forward and hope cargo returns. To that end, pilots will be able to land on a fourth runway at PVG in spring 2013; construction of a fifth runway is slated to finish in 2015. A new Customs-free trade zone was put into operation near the airport’s West Cargo City in July. The developments, paired with the emergence of domestic business, bode well for the future.

“We will see much more transit cargo in PVG as well as much more import and domestic cargo. We will see more African and Indian cargo — maybe carriers from these countries as well,” the spokesman predicts. “But we will see fewer charters, as they will move to the second-tier locations on the rise, like Chengdu, Chongqing and Dalian.”

Memphis International Airport still ranks near the top due to its presence as the home base of FedEx, and despite relinquishing the title last year to HKIA, the airport is experiencing growth and expansion. According to Larry Cox, the airport’s president and CEO, 2010’s rise in activity was due to increased international cargo flown through the FedEx Super Hub. The integrator recently opened up a new cargo ramp and what will be the first of five new air cargo buildings. This international-traffic bump is also convincing FedEx to purchase larger aircraft, he says.

Though Cox looks forward to strong international numbers, the domestic tonnage paints another picture. While activity, he says, has stabilized, “fuel costs and a weak economy in North America make future growth challenging.” Still, he expects an overall air cargo growth of 5 percent this year. FedEx’s new facilities and, possibly, new carriers will drive this uptick, he says.

“We are very bullish on our future, as Memphis is becoming widely known as America’s aerotropolis, where runway, road, rail and river merge,” he says.

One seeming anomaly on the report is Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG), which is ranked 56th on the list. Officials at the airport saw a staggering 171.6 percent year-over-year increase in tonnage. No other result on the list even comes close to half of CVG’s results.

It turns out, however, that the number can easily be explained by the return of DHL. The main reason CVG’s year-over-year percentage is so big is that 2009’s numbers only reflected six months of DHL’s operations. But DHL did some growing in 2010 and is set to expand even more. This spring, construction began on a $22.5 million-dollar expansion of the DHL facilities, which is set to deliver sometime this month. This activity is also having an impact on 2011’s numbers; in the first six months of the year, tonnage rose 46 percent, year over year.

“DHL has been a great airport and community partner. Their return to CVG has increased jobs in the region and helped to decrease overall operating costs to all carriers at CVG,” says Barb Schempf, the airport’s director of public and government affairs.

In March, airport officials tasked an engineering group with completing a master plan study that will propose strategies to meet demand through 2035. The process has just started, but Schempf knows cargo will be a part of CVG’s future.

“Both in the short term and as part of the master plan study update, cargo plays a critical role in the operations at CVG,” she says. “We will continue to work with our cargo partners to identify and implement airfield and facility requirements necessary to meet, improve and grow their business at CVG and in the region.”

The busiest cargo airports in Europe are all within a small area, and this makes competing in the airfreight market a challenge says Anne Frisch, the operations director at Paris-Charles de Gaulle. It’s much easier for carriers to shop around to try to find the best deal. Less-established airports, she says, get marginalized.



Submitted by George on

I wonder why Africa especially Nigeria cannot act as a hub for cargo in Africa. I am currently working on getting an approval to establish a cargo airport in Nigeria. I would appreciate some form of technical expertise and advice on the feasibility and success factors. I am convinced it will be a good deal for anyone who is bold enough to embark on it. I would really appreciate your expert opinion on this.


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