European air cargo demand growth sluggish in February

Cargo volumes at European airlines remained weak in February as the industry braces itself for a tough year.

Europe’s largest combination cargo carrier group, Lufthansa, saw cargo volumes for the month decrease by 3.5% year on year to 802m revenue cargo tonne kms, despite capacity increasing by 7.7%.

However, this was an improvement on January’s performance and traffic performance over the first two months now stands at a decline of 4.2%.

The capacity additions – it has also added two B777Fs to its fleet – resulted in the cargo load factor dipping to 64.4% compared with 71.9% last year.

The Air France KLM group, meanwhile, managed to improve its cargo volumes in February registering an increase of 0.8%.

However, over the first two months combined, the group lags behind last year by 0.1%.

As a result of a 1.5% increase in capacity, the group’s cargo load factor declined to 60.1% against 60.5% last year.

The IAG group was the best performing of the main European airlines as it saw cargo traffic increase by 1.3% in February to 433m cargo tonne kms.

Improvements were led by its Iberia business while British Airways registered a decline.

Over the first two months of the year demand is up by 2.7% on a year ago.

The performance is reflected by figures from IATA, which said European airlines registered a 3.1% year-on-year decline in January – the latest month that figures are available.

“Weaker manufacturing conditions for exporters, and shorter supplier delivery times particularly in Germany, one of Europe’s key export markets, impacted demand,” IATA said. “Trade tensions and uncertainty over Brexit also contributed to a weakening in demand.”




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