European Cargo Monthly: Growth continues to stagnate in July

16 / 08 / 2018

Air cargo volumes at European airlines in July continued to grow at a lower rate than earlier in the year.

The region’s largest combination airline group in terms of cargo, Lufthansa, saw freight traffic for the period decline by 2.9% year on year to 904m revenue cargo tonne kms.

This is the second month in a row that the German airline group has recorded a decline and compares with its year-to-date growth rate of 2%.

While demand decreased, the amount of cargo capacity on offer from the group was up by 1.8% and as a result its load factor for July slipped to 64.1% against 67.2% this time last year.

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IAG Cargo, made up of the cargo capacity of British Airways, Iberia and Aer Lingus, also saw cargo traffic slip during the month – it recorded a 3.1% decline for July to 462m cargo tonne kms.

The airline group has registered declines in cargo traffic in five of the first seven months of the year and its year-to-date performance stands at a decline of 0.9%.

In its latest market update, IATA said that European airline performance is being affected by a slowdown in export orders, while supply chain bottlenecks, which often result in a boost in air cargo demand, have eased.

Performance for the month was better at Air France KLM and Finnair, although comparisons at both airlines are affected by fleet changes.

At Air France KLM, July saw cargo traffic increase by 4.6% year on year to 737m revenue tonne kms. This compares to a decrease of 0.3% over the first seven months of the year and is the biggest increase since last year’s peak season.

Performance over the last couple of years at the group has been affected by changes to its fleet. This year the airline has replaced three of its Boeing 747 combi aircraft with B787s, while ongoing strike action by Air France staff resulted in the cancellation of flights earlier this year.

Finally, Finnair saw cargo traffic increase by 2.8% year on year to 90.7m revenue tonne kms. This is slightly ahead of its performance over the first seven months, when cargo traffic increased by 2.2%.

Capacity increased by 7% during the month due to the use of larger aircraft. The airline said it benefitted from growth in Japanese volumes, offset by the ending of deal to rent space from Japan Airlines.

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