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Air cargo increasingly important for Swedish access – positive trend at Stockholm Arlanda Airport

2016-04-13, kl. 10:00

Passenger volume at Swedavia’s airports has been rising steadily over the past few years. For airlines with intercontinental routes, the possibility of transporting cargo is an important economic factor for success. In 2015, cargo at Stockholm Arlanda increased 6.3 per cent.

“Access is not just a question of transporting passengers. For the growth of Swedish business, the possibility of transporting goods quickly and safely by air is at least as important,” says Ylva Arvidsson, head of cargo business development at Swedavia’s airports.

New figures were released in conjunction with the meeting of the industry’s largest shippers at the Nordic Air Cargo Symposium, which show that Stockholm Arlanda Airport has experienced growth in both capacity and tonnage. For Stockholm Arlanda, the expansion of intercontinental service, with 14 new international non-stop routes in the past two years, has played a vital role. The large intercontinental passenger aircraft can carry not just passengers; the profitability of these intercontinental routes is also closely connected to the potential for fast shipping of valuable goods. That includes everything from crucial medicines to spare parts and valuable technical components.

Cargo can account for almost 15-20 per cent of an airline’s revenue on an intercontinental route. Relative to other modes of transport, air cargo represents a small proportion, about 1-2 per cent, of transport volume but 25-30 per cent of the value of goods shipped. Along with the growth in intercontinental direct routes, a further reason for the growth in tonnage at Stockholm Arlanda from 138,000 tonnes to 147,600 tonnes is that Korean Air Cargo increased the frequency of its flights from two to three times a week while TNT set up operations at the airport. In contrast to passenger flights, flights specialising in shipping cargo in Europe operate mostly at night since industrial companies manufacture during the day and thus need to ship cargo at night. Other major air cargo operators are DHL Express, FedEx and UPS.

“This trend shows the increased importance of air cargo for Sweden as a country that exports and imports,” notes Ms Arvidsson, director of cargo at Swedavia.

At the Nordic Air Cargo Symposium today in Stockholm, 170 participants, including representatives of goods owners, shippers, airlines, terminal companies and airports – among them Stockholm Arlanda’s airport director, Kjell-Åke Westin – discussed new trends in air cargo. Issues that will have a major impact on the future of the industry are growth in e-commerce, the question of traceability of cargo goods and how the interaction between goods owners, shippers and airlines will develop.