Airport cargo results enforce negative trend
March tonnage numbers for four airports spanning the United States paint a mixed picture of the health of U.S. airports, but the general trend is one of cargo activity decline.
Los Angeles International Airport handled 171,798 total tons of cargo in March, seeing 7,992 tons of mail and more than 163,000 tons of freight. While the mail result showed a 4.57 percent uptick, year over year, freight declined by 2.83 percent, leading to an overall decline of 2.51 percent. In the first three months of the year, however, mail tonnage declined by 18.5 percent, and freight was only down by 0.77 percent, which brought the overall drop to 1.58 percent. LAX is currently the U.S. gateway to Asia and may have been impacted by weak cargo numbers out of the region.
At Miami International Airport, which has long been the U.S. gateway to Latin America, international mail activity of 1,270 tons in March was up 17.24 percent, year over year, but freight fell by 8.49 percent to 152,558 tons. Year to date, freight was down by 2.35 percent to 434,066 tons, but mail had grown by 16.98 percent. Total international and domestic cargo was down by 7.33 percent, year over year, in March. For the first three months of the year, tonnage came to 510,385 tons, down 1.47 percent.
Total cargo tonnage fell by only 0.8 percent in March at Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, finishing the month at 56,265 tons. For the year, cargo was down by 1.04 percent. Atlanta has its eye on Miami’s gateway status, and is trying to convince some Latin American carriers to switch airports. Dallas-Fort Worth’s airport is vying to become a second gateway to both LAX and Miami, linking Asia to Latin America. Dallas saw 55,446 tons of cargo in March, a 7.5-percent, year over year, decline. Year to date, cargo activity has declined by 2.2 percent.