July 13, 2024

ACI: Hong Kong Retains Title As World’s Busiest Cargo Airport

In 2023, the roster of the world’s busiest cargo airports remained largely unchanged, with just one airport stepping out of Airports Council International (ACI) World’s top 10.

Image Source: businesstraveller.com

Hong Kong International Airport (HKG) maintained its position as the globe’s busiest cargo airport in 2023, handling 4.3 million metric tons of cargo, marking a 3.2% increase compared to the previous year. However, this figure represents a 9.9% decrease from the levels seen in 2019, as per ACI World’s preliminary data.

Overall, total cargo volumes across the world’s airports experienced a 3.1% decline in 2023 compared to the previous year, totaling 113 million metric tons. This marks the second consecutive year of decline following the surge in air cargo demand driven by the pandemic. Additionally, cargo volumes in 2023 were down by 4.6% from 2019, reversing the trend observed in 2022 when volumes were down by 2.6% from pre-pandemic levels.

ACI World attributes this decline to ongoing geopolitical tensions and disruptions in global trade and supply chains.

Image Source: wsj.com

The only change in the top 10 ranking from 2022 to 2023 was the exit of Tokyo Narita, with Doha (DOH) entering the list.

Following HKG at the second position is Memphis International Airport in Tennessee, the base hub for FedEx, which handled 3.9 million metric tons of cargo in 2023, marking a 4% decrease from the previous year and a 10.2% drop from 2019. Shanghai Pudong ranks third, handling 3.4 million metric tons, up by 10.4% over 2022 but down by 5.3% from 2019. Anchorage, Alaska, secures the fourth position with 3.4 million metric tons of cargo handled, down by 2.4% year-over-year but up by 23.1% compared to 2019. Seoul Incheon, the fifth-busiest airport, handled 2.7 million metric tons in 2023, experiencing a 6.7% decline year-over-year and a 0.7% decrease from 2019.

Rounding up the top 10 on the ACI cargo list are: United Parcel Service’s base hub in Louisville, Kentucky; Miami; DOH; Los Angeles (LAX); and Taipei (TPE). Notably, LAX and TPE witnessed cargo volume drops of 14.9% and 16.8%, respectively, in 2023 compared to the previous year.

Collectively, the world’s 10 busiest cargo airports account for approximately 26% of global cargo volumes, with a combined volume decrease of 3.5% year-over-year in 2023.

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