Singapore Changi Airport reported a cargo volume decline last year against the backdrop of persisting global economic uncertainty, although its passenger numbers soared as more countries started relaxing Covid-related measures.


Newly-released data for traffic in 2022 showed that the gateway handled 1.85 million tonnes of air freight last year, down 4.8% from the volume seen in 2021.


In December alone, Changi Airport — one of the largest cargo hubs in the world — recorded 153,000 tonnes of cargo, down 17% compared to the same month last year.


"On the cargo front, cargo flows dipped slightly against the backdrop of global economic uncertainty and inflationary pressures," the release said.


It added that Changi Airport's top five air cargo markets for the year were, in order, China, Australia, the United States of America, Hong Kong and Japan.


Lim Ching Kiat, executive vice president of Air Hub and Cargo Development, Changi Airport Group (CAG), said in the past two years, the gateway strengthened its airport offerings and continued to engage with its airline partners in anticipation of travel revival.


He added that the re-opening of Terminals 2 and 4 has helped restore airport capacity to cater to the strong travel demand — and the airport is looking forward to welcoming more flights in the coming months; for example, Ethiopian Airlines will commence flights from Addis Ababa in March.


"Notwithstanding near-term challenges such as global economic uncertainty and inflationary pressures, we are confident that we will be able to progressively restore Changi Airport’s connectivity and traffic to pre-Covid levels," the CAG executive further said.


More connectivity at Changi Airport


The gateway noted that in 2022, it welcomed eight new airlines: seven passenger carriers —  Aircalin, Bamboo Airways, Cambodia Airways, Citilink, HK Express, Thai Vietjet Air and T’way Air.


Meanwhile, it also received one freighter operator last year, Atlas Air.


As of the first week of January 2023, Changi Airport noted that 96 airlines operate over 5,600 weekly scheduled flights at Changi Airport, connecting Singapore to 143 cities in 48 countries and territories worldwide.


The gateway noted that this is 82% of Changi's pre-Covid connectivity.


Changi Airport also strengthened its partnerships to further boost its operations.


In August last year, CAG welcomed the partnership between DHL Express and Singapore Airlines to operate five Boeing 777 freighters out of Changi Airport, which will fly on routes between the United States and Singapore via points in North Asia and Australia.


The first two aircraft began operations at Changi Airport in 2022, strengthening the Changi air cargo hub by facilitating more express volumes between the US and Asia Pacific via Singapore.


The three other freighters are seen to join the service at the Singapore gateway in 2023.