Air France puts on a brave face

AIR France-KLM’s June airfreight traffic was stable for the second month in a row but the carrier’s finances are still far from healthy.
Cargo was down 0.4 per cent compared to June last year, a slight improvement from May’s one per cent drop. 
However, the results include Martinair. When excluding the Dutch cargo and charter carrier, consolidated in January, the figures show a fall from a year ago of 18 per cent for May and 17.2 per cent for June – an improvement on January’s 23.2 per cent low but still not breath taking.
Capacity, including freighters, fell 15.4 per cent, resulting in a 1.4 per cent load factor decline down to 64.1 per cent.
"These figures confirm again the trend towards a stabilisation of the cargo activity, with a progressive adjustment of capacity to demand, although it is too early to tell whether they indicate the start of an economic recovery."
Traffic on the Americas network in June fell 10.6 per cent (capacity cut 14 per cent), Asia Pacific traffic fell 15.4 per cent (capacity cut 20.1 per cent) while the Middle Eastern and African network, which had rocketed 45 per cent in May, was still high at 35.8 per cent over June’s traffic last year.
While the Franco-Dutch carrier is obviously putting a brave face on in public, behind the scenes things are far from encouraging, with sales seriously struggling. 
Even the prediction that it would make a 2009/10 operating loss of €129m ($181.5m) is now looking like an optimistic figure.
"The revenue loss will widen in the first quarter of the 2009/10 fiscal year," said one Air France-KLM source while another suggested that May’s cargo fall of 18 per cent was actually closer to 35 to 38 per cent and that June was also "bad".

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