Freight traffic at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport slumped by almost a fifth in 2009. Cargo shipments declined by 18.4 percent from a year ago to 1.28 million tonnes, according to provisional figures.
The decline in Amsterdam’s cargo traffic has bottomed and is expected to grow between 1 percent and 2 percent in 2010, according to Jos Nijhuis chief executive officer of the Schiphol Group.
The slump in 2009 traffic to the lowest level since 2000 exceeded Schiphol’s forecast of a 15 percent decline largely as a result of deep capacity cuts at Air France-KLM, the airport’s main cargo carrier.
Air France-KLM, which took over Amsterdam-based cargo and charter airline Martinair in early 2009, grounded 11 of its 29 freighters, including eight Boeing 747-400Fs as it seeks to maximize the use of “belly” capacity on its passenger and passenger/freight combi aircraft. It has cut winter cargo capacity by 15 percent.
Schiphol’s cargo traffic recovered in the second half of 2009 with the year-on-year decline slowing to less than 10 percent. The airport posted small gains in the final three months.
Passenger numbers are forecast to increase by just 0.6 percent in 2010 after declining 8.4 percent in 2009 to 43.5 million.
London Heathrow overtook Amsterdam Schiphol as Europe’s third largest air cargo hub. Heathrow handled 1.58 million tonnes in the first eleven months of 2009. While that was a 10.6 percent decline from the same period the previous year, it was enough to push the UK airport into third place after Frankfurt and Paris Charles de Gaulle.
Heathrow has been outperforming its continental European rivals for several months with traffic increasing 4.9 percent in November from a year ago to 123,439 tonnes. Its full year figures are due to be published later this week.
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