European Cargo Monthly: Growth stagnates but underlying strength remains

European airlines continued to see airfreight growth stagnate in October, but volumes for the month remain strong compared with the last five years.
The October figures from major European carriers again show that cargo growth has flat lined in 2019, but this masks the underlying strength in the market when compared with the last five years.
For many carriers in the region, the month is the busiest of the year.
Europe’s largest combination cargo carrier Lufthansa, for example, saw cargo traffic for October decline by 1.9% year on year to 955m freight tonne kms – the airline’s fifth year-on-year decline in a row.
And with capacity up by 5% on last year, the airline’s load factor slipped to 65.6% compared with 70.2% last year.
Despite this, the month was the second busiest of the year so far, behind March, and the second busiest October the carrier has had over the last five years.
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The IAG Group also saw cargo traffic decline against a year ago in October, registering a 1.9% fall to 517m cargo tonne kms. Over the first ten months demand is 0.9% down on 2017.
However, like Lufthansa, this was the group’s second busiest October in the last five years and it was the busiest month of the year so far.
Air France KLM continued its cargo turnaround after a freighter fleet adjustment as it registered a 3.2% year on year increase in cargo traffic to 791m revenue tonne kms.
This was the carrier group’s fifth year-on-year increase in a row and its best October since 2014. Over the first ten months demand is up by 0.7%.
Meanwhile, the carrier’s cargo load factor reached 63.3% against 62% last year, making it the strongest aircraft utilisation rate the AF KLM has reported for freight since November 2016.
Finally, Finnair saw cargo traffic increase by 4.6% on last year to 100m revenue tonne kms and its load factor edged up to 68.9%.
This was the carrier’s busiest ever month on record and follows two months of year-on-year declines. Over the first ten months traffic is up 1.2% on a year earlier.
The carrier said the improvement was driven by the strong positive cargo market development Japan. The positive development was also seen in Finland and routes to US.
Finnair’s total cargo capacity included also three weekly freighter flights between Helsinki and Brussels, operated by DHL, due to stop at the end of the month as larger passenger aircraft are added to the route.
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