Lufthansa cargo’s traffic rise lets workers hours to follow

LUFTHANSA Cargo saw a resurgence in traffic in January, with 18.6 per cent more shipped than the same month last year. Revenue rose 20.8 per cent on a 5.5 per cent capacity cut, which led to the load factor rising 14.8 per cent to 67.8.

Lufthansa as a whole saw cargo traffic increase 17 per cent to 131,000 tons. Capacity fell one per cent, raising the load factor 14 per cent to 64.5. Sales were up 26.5 per cent.

The carrier attributed the 114,000 tons to a strong Asian exports recovery. Asia-Pacific traffic rose 30 per cent to 37,000 tons while American traffic rose 20.9 per cent to 38,000 tons.

As with many dramatic improvements in fortunes that are being reported recently the increase should be balanced with the severity of the decline last year that this year’s figures are measured against.

Nonetheless, the improvement was enough for the company to announce that it is reducing the cut in hours that it has imposed on some of its German ground staff. The workers had been made to take a cut of 25 per cent in working hours since March last year, but that will now be increased to a 20 per cent reduction. Executive Board members and senior executives will continue to take a voluntary pay cut while the measure remains in force.

“The crisis is not yet over,” said Peter Gerber, Lufthansa Cargo’s executive board member finance and human resources. “The latest positive developments in our traffic figures still reflect a significant drop in cargo volume compared with the pre-crisis period. It will take still some time to return to the level we achieved in 2007 or 2008. Overall, the global airfreight industry has lost four years of growth due to the crisis

The reduction is scheduled to last until 28 February, 2011. However Gerber says: “We can, at any time, end short-time working before that date, but only on condition that demand in the air cargo market continues to grow sharply.”

Gerber added: “At the moment we are cautiously optimistic that we will be able to further reduce short-time working arrangements or, if there are further improvements, phase out short-time completely in the course of this year.”

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