Air cargo handling at Vienna Airport remained stable as more than 172,000 tons were handled for transport by cargo or passenger aircraft in 2023. This represents an increase of 2 percent compared to 2022. Due to the recovery in global air traffic, more belly capacities were available again in 2023. As a result, this segment was able to grow significantly and overcompensate for the decline in cargo aircraft transportation. Together with a decline in air freight trucking volumes, the airport closed 2023 with a total of 245,000 tons, a slight decrease of 2 percent compared to the previous year. Pharmaceutical handling reached a record level.
Declines of around 15,000 tons to just over 85,000 tons for freighters were offset by growth of more than 18,000 tons to around 87,000 tons in belly transport. The additional belly capacities also had an impact on road feeder services. Trucking 2023 saw a decline of around 8,000 tons to around 73,000 tons. Pharmaceutical handling at the Vienna Pharma Handling Center, which is available to all airlines at Vienna Airport for the handling of temperature-sensitive goods, continued to develop strongly. At 3,675 tons, the previous record year of 2022 was slightly exceeded by 0.3 percent.
"2023 was a year of stabilization. We see the last few months of last year in particular, with significant growth in pharmaceutical handling and the elimination of restrictions on Asian traffic, as positive signals for future development," says Michael Zach, who has been responsible for air cargo handling and, since Jan. 1, 2024, for all ground handling at Vienna Airport as head of ground handling.
As one of the most reliable and punctual hubs in the world, Vienna Airport has once again confirmed its high handling quality. In addition, the processes for handling shipments with the IOSS (Import One Stop Shop) procedure were defined in 2023 and handling capacities were also expanded at the Austrian authorities. Vienna Airport therefore has the perfect set-up to handle e-commerce shipments from major Chinese providers, for example, quickly and efficiently in accordance with the IOSS procedure.
For the current year, conditions are also being created for the safe and compliant handling of lithium batteries. This is an important step towards being able to handle a wide range of consumer goods, from cell phones to e-bikes and e-cars. It is planned that the site will have IATA CEIV Lithium Batteries certification in the third quarter.