European cargo monthly: Demand soars at IAG and Lufthansa
14 / 09 / 2017
The recent boom in air cargo demand continued at European airlines is August, with freight traffic for the month reaching record levels.
Europe’s largest cargo carrier, Lufthansa, saw cargo demand increase by 9.8% year on year in August to 901m revenue cargo tonne km.
This appears to be the airline group’s busiest August on record, certainly since Air Cargo News figures start in 2011, beating the previous high of 862m reported in 2011. The percentage growth for the month is also ahead of Lufthansa’s year-to-date average of 8%.
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Meanwhile, the airline increased its capacity during the month by 2.3% and as a result the airline group’s cargo load factor increased to 66.4% from 61.9% last year.
IAG Cargo had a similarly good month as it saw cargo demand increase by 7.6% year on year to 470m cargo tonne kms, led by a 6.4% improvement at British Airways, a 10.8% increase at Iberia and 22.2% at Aer Lingus.
This is the airlines’ second best year-on-year percentage improvement of 2017, beaten only by the 11% increase registered in July.
Over the first eight months, the airline has seen demand improve by 5.4% against the same period in 2016.
Air France KLM also registered a demand improvement, although by a lower amount. The Franco-Dutch business saw traffic increase by 1.2% year on year to 707m revenue tonne kms.
Performance at the airline is affected by a slimming down of the KLM freighter fleet – at the end of June last year, it operated four B747-400Fs and two MD-11s. At the end of the first quarter this year, that was reduced to four B747-400Fs.
As a result, the airline group’s cargo capacity for the month was down by 1.2% against last year and the load factor increased to 56% from 54.7% a year earlier.
Finally, Finnair continued its good performance as it registered a 20.2% increase in demand to 91.4m revenue tonne kms.
This is the airline’s biggest percentage increase of the year so far and busiest August on record. It is also ahead of year-to-date-growth of 6.4% after a slow start to the year as pilots were trained on new aircraft for long-haul routes.
“The strong performance of cargo continued in August, driven by the main Chinese destinations, Hong Kong, Japan, Norway and Finland,” the airline said.
“Finnair’s total cargo capacity also included three weekly freighter flights between Helsinki and Brussels, operated by DHL as well as cargo space rented on Japan Airlines’ daily flights between Tokyo and Helsinki.”
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