Amsterdam Airport Schiphol’s total cargo volume slipped 14.5 percent to 655,942 tonnes, compared to the same period in 2019, as an increase in full freighter cargo did not make up for the decline in belly traffic.
Not immune to the heavy impact of Covid-19, Schiphol attributed the decline in passenger aircraft to the decrease in belly volumes, saying that the extra belly capacity on intercontinental routes helps the air cargo market in Amsterdam to better serve its customers.
Full freighter flights were up 48.1 percent to 10,274 air transport movements (ATM) from January to June, but the number of belly flights dropped 51.6 percent to 105,665 ATMs, compared to the first half of 2019.
In the first six months, full freighter volume surged 12.4 percent to 463,679 tonnes, whilst belly cargo volumes dropped 45.9 percent to 192,264 tonnes. Inbound and cargo volumes were down 11.5 and 17.6 percent to 341,130 and 314,812 tonnes, respectively.
Although total volume declined over the first half, Schiphol rose from fourth to third in the list of the busiest European cargo hubs during the period.
Hit hard by the pandemic, most markets saw declines in the first half of 2020, with only the Middle East showing signs of growth. Inbound cargo to North America was down 17.1 percent to 46,680 tonnes and outbound slid 17.7 percent to 67,729 tonnes. Meanwhile Latin America felt the 21.8 percent drop in inbound volume finishing the first half with 45,872 tonnes as outbound inched down 14.6 percent to 31,762 tonnes.
In Europe, inbound cargo was down slightly by 3.0 percent to 46,067 tonnes, but outbound fell by 23.5 percent to 41,866 tonnes.
Schiphol’s biggest market, Asia, saw declines, as inbound was down 8.1 percent to 121,008 tonnes and outbound stumbled 17.5 percent to 107,735 tonnes. Shanghai remained the largest single market destination from January to June.
The only bright spot was the Middle East region, where inbound volume was up 9.2 percent to 48,682 tonnes, reversed by the 11.7 outbound drop at 45,914 tonnes. Inbound to Africa was down 29.5 percent to 32,821 tonnes and outbound bottomed 22.3 per cent to 19,806 tonnes, driven by a decrease in the import and exports of flowers.
The company said sustainability remains an important focus, and the health and safety of staff involved in cargo handling is also critical, as Schiphol works closely with the cargo community to comply with government guidelines and ensure the correct implementation of protocols.
“We are seeing passenger flights increasing which means an increase in belly capacity, but it is important we move along with customer needs and make sure all demands are accommodated as well as possible,” said Maaike van der Windt, Director Aviation Marketing, Cargo and Customer Experience, Amsterdam Airport Schiphol.