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Indiaexportnews.com

Beijing tops world air freight, passenger volume

  05.04.2011    

London's Heathrow Airport, the world's second-busiest airport in 2010, and Hong Kong, the top for freight, have both been surpassed by Beijing's, reports the Panama Bulletin.
Passenger volume in Beijing increased 13 per cent to 73.9 million, trailing only the US Atlanta hub, according to data published by Airports Council International (ACI).
Hong Kong freight volumes surged 23 per cent to 4.17 million tonnes, propelling it past Memphis International, FedEx Corporation's main hub, which had a 5.9 per cent increase to 3.9 tonnes.
Hong Kong's Cathay Pacific became the world's biggest international air cargo carrier in 2010, outstripping Korean Air Lines with help by exports from the neighbouring Pearl River Delta.
FedEx, No 1 if both international and domestic shipments are included, and United Parcel Service (UPS) have opened hubs in the Pearl River Delta region.
Shanghai was the world's third-busiest cargo airport last year, and also the busiest container port. China boosted exports of electronics, clothes and other goods by 31 per cent in 2010.
Global passenger traffic increased 6.3 per cent overall, based on results from more than 900 airports, ACI said. Cargo rose 15 per cent and aircraft movements increased less than one per cent.
Heathrow fell to fourth from second, with passenger numbers dropping 0.2 to 65.9 million, from a sluggish UK economy and cancellations after a volcanic eruption in Iceland hurt demand.
China's gross domestic product grew 10.3 per cent in 2010, the fastest in three years, as the nation of 1.3 billion people passed Japan to become the world's number two economy. Beijing airport was 14th globally as recently as five years ago with 41 million passengers, a total now matched by airports in the Chinese cities of Guangzhou and Shanghai, which rank in the top 20, according to ACI.
Nick Cunningham, an analyst at Agency Partners in London said air travel typically expands at twice the pace of the economy, and Chinese demand should, therefore, increase at close to 200 per cent a year, though that may be curbed by constraints such as a lack of trained pilots.
In the US, the world's largest economy, Atlanta attracted 89.3 million passengers last year, up 1.5 per cent and still 15 million ahead of Beijing. Chicago O'Hare International Airport ranked third globally with 66.7 million customers after growth of 3.3 per cent.
Heathrow, where strikes by British Airways crews added to disruption from the Icelandic volcano, remained Europe's busiest as next-ranked Paris Charles de Gaulle added only 0.4 per cent more passengers, the third-worst performance in the top 30.
Las Vegas had the only drop other than Heathrow, down 2.6 per cent.
North America and Europe have struggled to reach pre-crisis passenger volumes, the Asia-Pacific, Latin America-Caribbean and the Middle East sustained a strong momentum and gained market share," said Angela Gittens, director general of the ACI in a statement.


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