In 2021, airports in various countries of the world recorded a record increase in cargo turnover, which exceeded pre-Covid times.
Air cargo has shown significant positive momentum over the past year, despite the continued shortage of passenger capacity on passenger flights and other pandemic-related challenges. In a number of airports located in various countries, according to the results of 2021, new annual records of cargo turnover were recorded. Many air harbors have actively begun to modernize their cargo terminals and build new ones. The main players in the air cargo market, including ZetAvia, did not stand aside, opening new routes for the delivery of goods in 2021 and increasing the current volumes of cargo transportation.
Airports in Frankfurt, Budapest, Cologne, Hong Kong and many others have announced record numbers exceeding pre-Covid times, and sometimes even for the first time since opening. Let me dwell on, in my opinion, the most impressive results of work over the past year. For example, Frankfurt Airport, Europe's largest cargo airport, handled a record 2.3 million metric tons of cargo in 2021, up 8.9% from 2019. In December, the German hub's throughput rose 6.2% year on year to around 197,100 metric tons, the highest monthly volume since December 2007. Equally astonishing are the results of Budapest’s Ferenc Liszt International Airport, which handled more than 183,000 tons of air cargo in 2021, up 36% on 2020. Budapest Airport said the strong performance was driven by an increase in cargo flights of just 4.8%, driven by a new increase in air cargo volumes and more efficient use of dedicated cargo flights. I note that most of the volume of international e-commerce enters Hungary by air and all these factors, along with the Sino-Hungarian policy of the Hungarian Air Silk Road, have led to the fact that air cargo between China and Hungary has reached a new level. Last year, Alibaba Group decided to choose Budapest as the main air logistics hub in Central and Eastern Europe, attracting other major cargo players to the Hungarian market. The results of the work of Cologne Bonn Airport were also stunning, where in 2021 the volume of air cargo transportation increased by 14% and amounted to 986,000 tons, which is a new annual record for the entire existence of this air harbor. North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW)'s most important logistics hub for supplying the public with medical supplies, industrial parts, foodstuffs and commodities, predicts that the threshold of 1 million tons of air cargo in one year will be surpassed for the first time in 2022. The Hong Kong Airport Authority (AAHK) recently announced that 2021 cargo throughput at Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) grew by 12.5% year on year to 5 million tons, exceeding 4.8 million tons registered in 2019. At the same time, the number of cargo flights rose to a record 82,935, up 19.8% year-on-year.
It turns out that the past year once again proved that air cargo is the stabilizer of the aviation industry in times of crisis and an important pillar of the business model for both air cargo carriers and passenger airlines. What will be the rules of the game for the aviation industry in 2022, time will tell. So far, analysts and airlines predict that high demand for serial and converted cargo aircraft may continue after the end of the Covid-19 pandemic.