Frankfurt Airport (FRA) handled record volumes of cargo last year despite the ongoing reduction in bellyhold capacity across the industry.
The largest cargo airport in Europe, Frankfurt handled a record 2.3 million tonnes of cargo in 2021 up 18.7 per cent on 2020 levels and 8.9 per cent ahead of pre-pandemic 2019.
Air cargo was the main driver behind this growth, while airmail continued to be affected by the short supply of belly capacity on passenger aircraft.
The overall number of take offs and landings increased 23.4 per cent year on year to 261,927 but remain 49 per cent down on 2019 levels as passenger traffic only slowly recovered.
In December, the airport’s cargo throughput grew by 6.2 per cent year-on-year to around 197,100 tonnes – the highest monthly volume since December 2007.
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.”