Delta sees first quarter air cargo revenues slide

Delta Air Lines continued to see cargo volumes and revenues decline during the first quarter of the year.
The US airline suffered a 25.3% year-on-year decline in cargo revenues to $162m on the back of a 13.3% drop in volumes to 475m cargo ton miles.
Although Delta does not provide commentary on the performance of its cargo division, the decline of revenues ahead of volumes comes as jet fuel prices have continued to decline and rates have come under pressure.

Figures from the US Energy Information Administration show that jet fuel prices stood at $1.07 per gallon in March this year compared with $1.63 for the same month last year.
Drewry’s airfreight index shows that airfreight rates in February – the latest month where data is available – stood at $2.57 per kg compared with $3.17 per kg last year.
Demand figures could also have been effected by US west coast port strikes last year that saw a modal shift from sea to air and skewed year-on-year comparisons.
The strikes came to an end if February but the backlog of cargo took weeks to clear. Therefore there should be a clearer picture of how Delta’s demand performance stacks up against last year’s underlying volumes when it reports its April figures.
However, while the cargo business is facing up to tough market condition, the overall airline continues to record double-digit profit improvements.
During the first quarter, a one third reduction in its fuel bill helped the airline to a $946m profit, up 27% on the same period last year. Revenues, though, dipped by 1% as prices came down.

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