Memphis remains world's largest cargo airport


Feb. 4--Memphis International Airport is the world's largest cargo airport for the 18th straight year.

The home field of FedEx Express widened the gap between Memphis and Hong Kong International Airport in 2009.

The airport reported landing 3,697,806 metric tons of cargo, up .4 percent from 3,696,190 tons in 2008.

Freight tonnage fell 7.7 percent at Hong Kong, to 3.35 million tons from 3.627 million tons.

Memphis held its own despite what the International Air Transport Association said was the largest year-to-year decline in air traffic since World War II. The association said freight was down 10.1 percent from 2008.

Early last year, Memphis-Shelby County Airport Authority officials thought Hong Kong might overtake Memphis for top honors, but the recession had unforeseen impacts.

Airport Authority CEO and president Larry Cox said, "The global recession hurt Asia more than other regions, and FedEx rerouted more aircraft through Memphis at the expense of their other regional hubs, due to operational and cost savings of doing so."

The figures from Memphis and Hong Kong, gleaned from year-end statistical reports, are unofficial. The Airports Council International's official ranking is due out in April.

-- Wayne Risher: 529-2874

Cargo giants

No. 1: Memphis International Airport, 3,697,806 metric tons, up .4

No. 2: Hong Kong International Airport, 3.35 million metric tons, down 7.7 percent