Barcelona generates 38% of Spanish exports by air, but only 14% of Spanish air cargo passes through its airport

Barcelona is the origin of 38% of air Spanish exports, but its airport receives only 14% of air traffic in the state. Barcelona has a clear opportunity to increase its air cargo, especially on Asian routes, which represent 45% of Spanish traffic. These are some of the details of the latest edition of the Barcelona Air Traffic Observatory, produced quarterly by GPA (Gestió i Promoció Aeroportuària S.A.) a company owned by the Barcelona Chamber of Commerce, which was presented to the Barcelona-Catalonia Logistics Centre (BCL) Air Cargo Committee at the workshop held on Tuesday 28 February.

To increase traffic, the BCL Air Cargo Committee proposes, among other actions, that Barcelona Airport captures traffic from the Pyrenees-Mediterranean Euroregion, which is poorly served at present. The airport has a great potential to become a logistics hub for air cargo: the current growth of the southern regions of France; the situation of Barcelona at the intersection of  the Mediterranean and Ebro corridors; its proximity to the Port of Barcelona; and the role of Catalonia as first region in exports in Spain (26% of total exports). The long-haul air routes from Barcelona created in recent years have helped improve access to new markets and logistic hubs directly, but there is still much room for further increasing cargo in Barcelona.

In Spain, 670,000 tons were transported by air freight in 2011. The market is concentrated in 4 major airports: Madrid (59%), Barcelona (14%), Zaragoza (7%) and Vitoria (5%). The main markets for Spanish exports are Asia - Pacific (28%), South America (24%) and North America (20%).

Barcelona transported 100,000 tons in the hold during the last year, a decrease of 7.4% over 2010. However, considering the cargo truck (cargo that counts as air freight but which travels by road, generally short distances - up to 1,000km), air freight in Barcelona rose 9% in 2011. The effect seen is an increase in freight transported by cargo truck at the expense of hold cargo. The main destination airports for air exports out of Barcelona are American, Asian and the Middle East. Barcelona does not have direct passenger or cargo flights to most of its Asian destinations.

In 2011 Barcelona increased its total traffic (due to export growth), but there was a transfer from pure cargo flights (aircraft that only carry goods) to passenger aircraft, and, especially, to cargo trucks. Therefore, Barcelona is acting as a feeder to other cargo airports.


The air freight mode
Air freight is a specialist transport sector (0.1% of the global burden) that exploits the time factor (speed) to obtain a niche in the logistics industry. Around 50 million tons of cargo is transported by plane all over the world every year. The air freight mode includes both cargo transported in the hold of aircraft, and cargo trucks.

Europe represents 19% of air freight in the world. It is a highly concentrated market, where the major airports (Frankfurt, Paris, Amsterdam and Heathrow) carry 45% of the total cargo. Barcelona is 27th in the European air ranking.


Air Cargo Committee

These data were presented yesterday to the BCL Air Cargo Committee led by GPA (Gestió i Promoció Aeroportuària S.A.), a company belonging to the Barcelona Chamber of Commerce. The committee’s workshop brought together over 30 representatives of companies and organizations involved in air cargo in Barcelona. The activities of this task force link with the efforts of the Barcelona Air Route Development Committee (BARDC) in developing long-haul routes out of Barcelona Airport.

The Air Cargo Committee approved a draft proposal of the Commercial Action Plan to improve air cargo in Barcelona. This plan is to be based on a systematic analysis of data available concerning air cargo, to detect points to improve local services and opportunities for creating new air cargo links, which will position Barcelona Airport as a benchmark centre for Southern Europe.


Source: BCL and Barcelona Chamber of Commerce


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