Amsterdam Schiphol Airport boosted freight volume 5.2 percent year-over-year in the first half of 2011, driven mainly by freighter traffic.
The Dutch airport handled 573,073 metric tons in the period, remaining Europe’s third largest cargo hub after Frankfurt Airport and Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport and ahead of London Heathrow Airport.
The airport said it outperformed 2010 in four of the six months so far this year, led by a 19 percent increase in April that was skewed by comparison to the previous April, which was hurt by the six-day closure of European airspace by Icelandic volcanic ash.
The airport expressed cautious confidence for the full year despite a 1.2 percent drop in traffic in June.
The first half increase “is significantly better than the performance of the other three major European gateways,” said Schiphol Cargo Vice President Enno Osinga.
Middle East traffic grew 22.4 percent, ahead of North America at 17.9 percent and Asia, which lagged at 6.2 percent due to the Japanese earthquake and tsunami in March.
Freighters, which account for 57 percent of Amsterdam’s cargo throughput, grew 7.7 percent in the first half, outpacing a 2 percent rise in freight carried on passenger aircraft.
Schiphol attracted several new cargo services in the first half of the year, including freighter operations by Saudi Arabian Airlines, Abu Dhabi’s Etihad and US carrier Centurion Air Cargo. Qatar Airways and Russia’s AirBridge began freighter services to Chicago and China Southern launched freighter flights to Guangzhou.
Schiphol, which handled 1.5 million tons in 2010, is served by 23 scheduled freighter operators.
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