Journal of air transport management
In this paper, we present an air transport connectivity model for air freight. For the purposes of this paper, connectivity is defined as all possible direct and indirect connections to or from an airport operated by wide-body aircraft, weighted for the quality of the connection in terms of transhipment and in-flight times. Using this model, we analyse the networks of seven European airports. Europe’s largest hub airports carry most air freight thanks to their extensive intercontinental passenger networks, while smaller airports with a strong focus on air freight carry large amounts of cargo on dedicated freighter aircraft. For air freight operations, the catchment area of an airport is much larger than it is for passenger services, as shipments are being trucked to their departure airport throughout all of mainland Europe. Since there are many airports sharing the same catchment area, potential competition for air freight is fierce. We found that well located regions between the four large European airports have access to large air freight networks, whilst regional air freight connectivity in northern and southern parts of Europe is substantially lower.