Frankfurt Airport’s (FRA) cargo throughput is down for the first time this year. Photo: Fraport Group
Frankfurt Airport handled record volumes of cargo last year despite a reduction in bellyhold capacity.
The German hub – which is also the largest cargo airport in Europe – handled a record 2.3m metric tons of cargo last year.
This figure is up 18.7% on 2020 levels and 8.9% ahead of the pre-pandemic year 2019.
The airport said that airfreight was the main driver behind this growth, while airmail continued to be affected by the lack of belly capacity on passenger aircraft.
The overall number of take offs and landings increased 23.4% year on year to 261,927 but remain 49% down on 2019 levels as passenger traffic only slowly recovered.
Airport operator Fraport’s chief executive, Stefan Schulte, said: “Throughout 2021, the Covid-19 pandemic continued to have a massive impact on Frankfurt Airport.
“Passenger traffic recovered gradually in the course of the year – even rising threefold in the April-to-December 2021 period compared to 2020 – but we are still far away from the pre-pandemic levels of 2019.
“Cargo traffic, in contrast, saw very positive growth in 2021. Airfreight volumes in Frankfurt even reached a new annual record, despite the ongoing shortage of belly capacity on passenger flights and other challenges. This underscores our role as one of Europe’s leading cargo hubs.”
In December, the airport’s cargo throughput grew by 6.2% year on year to around 197,100 metric tons – the highest monthly volume since December 2007.
The increase in cargo demand has created some operational challenges at the airport.
In November, forwarders faced delays when picking up and dropping off cargo.