Alexis Sioris, the manager of cargo development at Athens International Airport, wants to spur a modal shift in the country, moving what he calls “a large portion of exported goods” that are currently transported by land and sea to air cargo. Sioris, along with a group of forwarders and members of the airport’s Cargo Community Committee, will target specific exporters and convince them to switch to airfreight.
“We are currently conducting meetings with trade delegates and joint-venture chambers of commerce to sell this idea,” he said in a statement. “We are very keen to maintain our considerable airfreight capacity and facilities during these difficult times, against the day when things improve, which we are confident will happen.”
According to a press release issued by the Athens airport, major Greek exports are perishables, telecom equipment, medical-related goods and textiles. Courier and mail traffic, though, accounts for 23 percent of the country’s airfreight exports.
The new strategy arises from a hope to stem what have been dwindling cargo numbers at the airport. Total cargo exports for September fell 13.3 percent, year-over-year, according to statistics provided by the airport. In fact, exports have seen a decrease, year-over-year, each month, with August (-6.9 percent) and January (-6.6 percent) the bright spots for exports so far this year.
Total outbound mail has been faring far better than the rest of the airport’s cargo, with flat growth, year-over-year, last month after an 8.6-percent increase in August. Outbound mail in May, June and July also experienced increases over the previous year. In general, international freight shows much brighter numbers than domestic freight activity, which has experienced huge declines when compared to 2011.