European cargo monthly: Demand growth weakens in March

European airlines saw cargo demand growth continue to weaken in March as some of the region’s top airlines registered demand decreases.
The latest statistics from Air France KLM, IAG and Finnair all saw cargo volumes decline in March compared with a year ago, while Lufthansa reported weaker growth.
Performance during the month would have been affected by the Easter holidays falling earlier than last year, while strike action affected Air France performance and Finnair has ended a cargo partnership with JAL.
The main reason for the weakening performance, appears to be the strength of growth last year affecting comparisons.
Looking at the individual airlines, Lufthansa saw cargo traffic for March increase by 0.4% year on year to 985m revenue tonne kms.
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This lags behind growth over the first three months of the year, with the Frankfurt hubbed carrier registering an increase of 4.9% on a year earlier during this period.
Its load factor for March declined to 71.3% from 73.8% during the same month last year.
The IAG Group recorded its third monthly decline in cargo traffic in a row in March, as cargo ton kms slipped 0.5% to 498m as Iberia and Aer Lingus registered increases but British Airways recorded a decline.
Last month, the carrier blamed the timing of the Chinese New Year for its weaker performance. Over the first three months of the year, the carrier group has recorded a 0.9% decrease on a year earlier.
Air France KLM, meanwhile, registered its first demand decrease of the year in March, although performance this year has been affected by strike action.
The Franco-Dutch airline group saw demand slip 1.7% year on year in March to 737m revenue tonne kms. For the first three months, freight traffic is 0.1% behind the same period in 2018.
The group’s cargo load factor for March slipped to 62.7% from 63.2% last year.
Finally, Finnair saw its cargo traffic decline by 0.7% in March to 75m revenue tonne kms. Demand for the first three months of the year is 1.6% up on 2017 levels.
The airline pointed out that last year it rented cargo space from JAL in its monthly performance review.
Load factors stand at 60.6% this year compared with 66.4% in 2018 as the carrier expanded capacity.

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