Hong Kong International Airport has regained its position as the world’s busiest cargo airport, according to Airports Council International (ACI) World.
Publishing its annual World Airport Traffic Dataset, ACI World reports that global air cargo volumes were up 15.4% in 2021 to 125 million tonnes, 4.5% higher than 2019.
The top 20 airports handled 44% of the total, 54.8 million tonnes, and they were up 14.7% in 2021 due to improved economic conditions driving an increase in demand for consumer goods and pharmaceutical products.
Hong Kong reclaimed the top spot from Memphis International Airport, with the former seeing volumes increase 12.5% to over 5 million tonnes, and the latter down 2.9% to just under 4.5 million tonnes.
Memphis was the only top 20 airport to report a fall, and all other airports grew at double-digit rates except 3rd place Shanghai Pudong, up 8% to just under 4 million tonnes, and Louisville in 6th place, which was up 4.6% to 3 million tonnes.
The biggest percentage growth was recorded by Tokyo’s Narita International Airport, growing 31.1% to 2.6 million tonnes, putting it up 2 places from 11th in 2020 to 9th in 2021.
Chicago O’Hare was the biggest climber compared to before the pandemic, up from 18th in 2019 to 11th in 2021. It grew 26.7% year-on-year to 2.5 million tonnes in 2021, the second highest growth after Narita.
All the top 20 airports from 2020 stayed in the top 20 for 2021 with a few swapping positions.
Incheon overtook Louisville for 5th place, Paris Charles de Gaulle claimed 15th from Guangzhou, and Leipzig took 19th from Shenzhen.