Halifax airport sees cargo recovery

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by Emily Atkins

Halifax Stanfield International Airport had its second-best year ever for cargo in 2022, surpassing 2018 levels for the first time.

The airport processed 36,979 tonnes of cargo, up 6.4 percent from 2021 and 12.1 percent from 2020. The value of products exported from the airport in 2022 was $540 million, up 8.9 percent from 2021 and 15.8 percent from 2020.

HIAA 2022 cargo results

“While our passenger activity has been slower to recover, cargo is showing strong signs of improvement, with 2022 representing one of the best years for cargo activity in the airport’s history,” said Joyce Carter, president and CEO, Halifax International Airport Authority (HIAA).

“This demonstrates that our focus on growing Halifax Stanfield’s air cargo capabilities has resulted in benefits to the airport, the community we serve, and the industry.”

In 2022, 16 air carriers transported goods by air to domestic, U.S., European, and Asian markets. The top export by volume and value was Nova Scotia seafood, primarily live lobster. The airport processed 16,422 metric tonnes of seafood exports worth $321 million.

Other top exports were industrial and electrical machinery. According to HIAA’s 2021 Economic Impact Report, export activity at Halifax Stanfield had a total economic output of $735.7 million, while total employment (full-time equivalents) was 4,254.

Air Canada Cargo launched a new dedicated freighter service to Europe in June, and Halifax Stanfield’s new Air Cargo Logistics Park (ACLP) building – occupied by Cargojet and First Catch Fisheries – became fully operational in August.

With eight cargo aircraft parking positions now available and more than double the amount of cold storage space, the ACLP has expanded Halifax Stanfield cargo processing capabilities offered by Gateway Facilities and Swissport.

Although ongoing global challenges with aircraft and pilot availability are affecting cargo and passenger air carriers alike, Carter is optimistic that Halifax Stanfield is well-positioned for growth opportunities as the sector rebounds.

“With increased interest in the Halifax market and capacity for future growth, we know the best is yet to come for air cargo at Halifax Stanfield,” said Carter.

“We look forward to continuing to collaborate with our partners to strengthen the supply chain and support the essential movement of goods to and from our communities.”

In 2023, Air Canada Cargo has added service to two new European destinations (Liege and Basel). Additionally, WestJet Cargo announced plans to launch a dedicated cargo service that will connect Halifax to North American cities.