2021 World's Top 10 busiest Air Cargo Airports

30 June 2022 | World | Business information

Find back the latest ranking for the world's top 10 world's busiest Airports for cargo traffic in 2021 from the Airports Council International (ACI) preliminary ranking.

 2021 World's Top 10 busiest Air Cargo Airports

Airports Council International (ACI), where the data for this article was taken from, is a trade association for worldwide airports, and each year it publishes the top 10 busiest airports for 2021 based on the preliminary compilation of global data from airports around the world. 

In 2021, a year in which the impact of the epidemic was still very present, we saw an overall increase of 15% for cargo volume compared to 2020, estimated to reach a new record of 124 million metric tonnes. The overall cargo volume in 2021 has increased by 3.5% compared to the pre-epidemic level, i.e. 2019. Meanwhile, passenger traffic, which is more affected by the epidemic, while achieving almost 25% growth over 2020, still represents a drop of more than 50% from 2019 figures.

The top 10 airports account for 25% of the total cargo volume this year and they grew their volumes by 12.4% in part due to the increased demand for online consumer goods and pharmaceutical products. Compared to 30.6 million metric tonnes handled in 2020, these top 10 airports handled almost 34.2 million metric tonnes in 2021.

Four of the top 10 airports (TPE, LAX, NRT, DOH) recorded an increase in air cargo traffic of over 20%. Hong Kong International Airport (HKG) surpassed Memphis International Airport (MEM) and gained back the top rank in terms of cargo volume in 2021 with a 12.5% increase. 

Miami International Airport (MIA) dropped out of the top 10. Meanwhile, Narita International Airport (NRT), the Japanese airport that once reached third place, with a 31.1% increase in 2021 to a record of 2,644,074 metric tons, is now in ninth place.

The top 10 airports have a strong geographical correlation. Among them, 6 airports are located in Asia, while the remaining 4 are located in the United States. Looking only at the top 10 airports, cargo volumes in 2021 vs. 2020, Asian airports are up by 24.09%, while those of American airports are down by 8.47%.

On the European side, the rankings of the top airports remain similar, with Frankfurt Airport (FRA) and Paris-Charles de Gaulle airport (CDG) in the lead in 2020, handling 2.3 and 2.1 million tons of air cargo respectively in 2021, followed by Amsterdam-Schiphol (AMS), Leipzig (LEJ) and London-Heathrow (LHR). In addition, last May, French logistics real estate developer APRC unveiled a €150m project to transform Albert Picardie Airport (BYF), near Amiens, into one of Europe's leading all-cargo airports. Which, in the medium term, may also have an impact in the ranking of European cargo airports.


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