London Heathrow airport handled 3.8 percent less cargo in May than a year ago and is bracing for further declines amid a deepening eurozone crisis.
The drop to 123,172 tons left traffic down 2.3 percent in the first five months of the year at 600,961 tons, said BAA, the owner of Europe’s third largest cargo hub.
Heathrow is outperforming its European rivals, including second ranked Frankfurt, which suffered a 10.3 drop in May traffic to 172,135 tons, partly due to a night flight ban that mainly impacts freighters.
Traffic at London Stansted, BAA’s freighter and express hub, grew by 1.9 percent to 17,801 tons and was up 0.7 percent in the first five months at 85,263 tons.
Traffic across BAA’s five U.K. airports declined 2.4 percent in May to 144,141 tons, and was 1.6 percent lower in January-May at 701,076 tons.
“The impact of the eurozone crisis is still being felt with sharp falls in passenger numbers to the worst affected countries and reduced cargo traffic,” said BAA Chief Executive Colin Matthews.
Matthews used the latest traffic figures to increase pressure on the UK to reverse its opposition to a third runway at Heathrow.
The impact of the eurozone crisis on cargo and passengers illustrates why “the U.K. urgently needs to build better links to the countries whose economies are growing such as China, India and Brazil.”
“But with the country’s only hub airport Heathrow, already full, France and Germany are forging ahead and we are being left behind.”