Ongoing concerns over protectionist policies on global trade

In the first look at European carrier results for June, mixed results indicate ongoing concerns over protectionist policies on global trade are justified. Both Lufthansa Group and Air France-KLM reported year-over-year declines in cargo traffic, while International Airlines Group’s June performance was mostly flat with 2018. Only Turkish Cargo reported significant growth for the month.

However, for the first half, three of the four carriers tracked by Air Cargo World reported positive y-o-y results, indicating that despite a retracting market, major carriers are adapting to continue growing their cargo business.

A closer look at the carrier results

Air France-KLM’s June traffic declined by 3.6% y-o-y to 694 million FTKs. Air France reported the sharper decline at 4.4% for the month to 312 million FTKs and KLM declined by 3.0% to 383 million FTKs. Over the first half, the group’s total cargo activity was up by 0.9% y-o-y to 4.17 billion FTKs.

International Airlines Group reported another slight increase in traffic for June. Across the Group, traffic rose by 0.9% y-o-y to 462 million FTKs. Traffic increased at Aer Lingus and Iberia, which both account for a relatively small share of IAG’s overall cargo traffic, and was flat at British Airways, which accounts for most of the Group’s traffic. Over the first half, IAG’s cargo traffic was up 1.1% to 2.8 billion FTKs.

Lufthansa Group reported a 3.3% decline in June traffic, which fell to 878 million FTKs. The decline is entirely from Lufthansa Cargo’s Asia-Pacific traffic, which declined 11.4% y-o-y, while all other regions ranged from flat (Americas) to sharply higher (Middle East/Africa). Over the first half of the year, Lufthansa’s cargo traffic was down 2.3% to 5.24 billion FTKs.

Turkish Cargo reported a 7.7% y-o-y increase in cargo volumes during June, to just under 125,000 tonnes. For the first half of 2019, cargo volumes are up 8.8% to more than 720,000 tonnes. The carrier’s reported growth has slowed from the double-digit gains in 2017 and 2018 but has still outpaced the overall air cargo market.

In a statement, Turkish Cargo said it has “increased its market share to 4.0% from 3.9% across the (air cargo) industry, which shrank by 4.0% … and maintained its position at the 7th rank in the air cargo market.”