IAG group reporting declined figures

Major European cargo airlines saw freight traffic growth slow in 2018 in line with the general market slowdown.

The monthly data from European airlines show that in 2018 both Air France KLM and Lufthansa saw their cargo volumes grow at lower levels than the previous year, while IAG registered a decline.

The result shouldn’t be too surprising as the stellar year for growth the industry had in 2017 was always going to be difficult to repeat.

Down on 2017 volumes

Lufthansa registered a 0.8% increase in traffic last year to 10.9bn revenue cargo tonne kms, which is down on the 7.4% improvement it recorded in 2017, when the market enjoyed a resurgence thanks to inventory re-stocking and e-commerce growth.

Its average cargo load factor for the year was down to 66.4% compared with 68.7% in 2017. In December, the German carrier registered a 0.4% year-on-year increase in cargo traffic. It was a similar story at Air France KLM where it saw cargo traffic increase by 0.7% to 8.6bn revenue tonne kms, which is behind 2017’s 1.9% improvement.

Air France KLM strengthening at the end of 2018

Its load factor for the year stood at 60.3% compared with 59.9% in 2017 as it adjusted its freighter fleet during the year.

The Franco-Dutch carrier group enjoyed a stronger end to the year than Lufthansa as it saw demand increase by 1.3% in December.

IAG had an even tougher year on the cargo front as it saw demand decrease by 0.9% to 5.7bn cargo tonne kms, with a decrease at British Airways offsetting improvements at Iberia and Aer Lingus.

What about Finnair

Its performance was fairly even throughout the year with the final three months registering a cargo traffic decline of 0.7% year on year. December registered an increase of 2.7%.

Finally, Finnair saw cargo demand increase by 3.2% year on year to 1bn revenue tonne kms in 2018 as it continued the roll out of A350 widebody capacity on long-haul routes.

The year ended on a high for the Helsinki hubbed carrier as it recorded an 11.2% increase in cargo traffic for December.

It said the end of year improvement was mostly driven by the strong cargo market development in Japan, western Europe and the Nordic markets.