In spite of the decommissioning of two carriers and a tonnage drop of 2.4 per cent year on year, LUFTHANSA Cargo still leads the 2015 European air cargo carriers ranking.

According to an IHS Media report, the volume decreased 3.8 per cent in December year on year resulting to 125,000 tonnes.  A one per cent gain in capacity led to a 3.4 per centage points drop in the load factor to 67.4 per cent.

The German Carrier will face its first annual loss in six years after a second and third quarter resulting in a EUR 90 million (US$ 97 million) debt.

Last year, LUFTHASA Cargo moved 1.63 million tonnes of cargo, which was insufficient to fill a per cent increase in capacity, resulting in a 3.4 per centage point decline in the load factor to 66.3 per cent.

In a reaction, Lufthansa Cargo CEO Peter Gerber stated that last year was not an easy one for the air freight industry. “Turbulence in the Chinese market and the strong US dollar, that affected a lot of industries, stretched us all to our limits.  On top of that, strikes by Lufthansa pilots and cabine crews also weighed heaily on the carrier’s cargo business.”

Lufthansa Cargo boosted its network through 2015 in spite of the difficult market conditions.  New destinations including Vietnam, Brazil and Turkmenistan were added to the flight schedules.

In a bid to boost load factors on five new Boeing 777FS, twelve MD-11Fs and eight 777Fs, two freighters are being withdrawn from the fleet.  The new freight planes are being operated by Aerologic, Lufthansa’s joint venture with DHL Express.