Airports Council International (ACI) World has released its latest World Airport Traffic Report, 2019 edition, this September. The report reviews 2018 data to detail airport operating and traffic trends in major markets around the world.
In the report, ACI World reveals both the top air cargo hubs in the world as well as the fastest growing cargo gateways as of 2018. Below, we highlight the Top 5 fastest growing airports handling over 250,000 metric tons of air cargo and examine the factors contributing to their remarkable growth.
#1: Chicago Rockford Airport, U.S.
Coming in at #1, the Chicago Rockford International Airport (RFD) handled 306,332 metric tons of air cargo in 2018 – a whopping 56.6% increase in just one year.
This airport’s significant jump is likely due to its position as an e-commerce freight hub for Amazon, the reigning champion of online retail. Another factor contributing to RFD’s growth is the fact that it delivers top air service to international and domestic destinations while being a less congested alternative to the busier airports of Chicago, such as Chicago O’Hare (ORD), which is the sixth busiest airport for passengers and 18thbusiest airport for cargo in the world.
RFD is set to see even more growth in the coming years due to a recent $11.3 million in funding for improvements to the airport.
#2: Jomo Kenyatta Airport, Kenya
Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (NBO) in Nairobi is the premier gateway into and out of East and Central Africa and is the largest and busiest airport in Kenya. The airport’s 25 cargo airlines, large size and location in Kenya’s largest city are all contributors to the airport’s recent growth as a global cargo hub.
According to ACI World’s report, NBO handled 342,579 metric tons of cargo, representing the second largest increase of 25.2% from 2017 to 2018.
#3: Liege Airport, Belgium
Liege Airport (LGG) handled the highest volume of cargo of the top 5 fastest growing cargo airports, passing a massive 871,596 metric tons of cargo through its gateway in 2018. This volume represents an annual growth of 21.6% for the airport.
LGG’s advantage over others in the list is that it mainly focuses on air freight. The airport brands itself as “the most flexible cargo airport at the heart of Europe” and is located in the center of the golden triangle (Paris – Amsterdam – Frankfurt) that handles 66% of all European freight.
#4: Xi’An Airport, China
The largest and busiest airport in Northwest China and the second largest airport in Northern China, Xi’An Xianyang International Airport (XIY) showed growth of 20.3% in 2018, with a total of 312,639 metric tons being handled through the cargo gateway. The airport’s location and growing capacity are major factors in its growth as an air freight hub.
#5: Philadelphia Airport, U.S.
Finally, to round out the top 5, 503,766 metric tons of cargo were handled in Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) in 2018 – an annual growth of 20% from the previous year. PHL is the only major airport serving the USA’s seventh largest metropolitan area and is a hub for 25 domestic and international airlines.