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European freight carriers report mixed December results

By control on January 24, 2012

Despite financial troubles in the eurozone, December cargo volumes for some European carriers remained high. Air France-KLM, for instance, saw only a 0.3-percent, year-over-year, decline in freight traffic, while British Airways experienced a 16.8-percent, year-over-year, jump in freight tonne kilometers in December. Spanish flag carrier Iberia wasn’t so lucky, however.

Iberia’s cargo volumes fell 10.2 percent from December 2010, with capacity on both its passenger and freight operations dropping 1.2 percent, year-over-year.

IAG, parent company to both Iberia and BA, attributes these losses to a “significant reduction in Iberia’s short-haul premium traffic compared to last year.” In a press release, IAG explained how strikes throughout the region and the weakened economic climate contributed to this phenomenon.

Nevertheless, BA appeared unscathed by such occurrences. In addition to a double-digit increase in FTK, the carrier saw capacity surge by 17.9 percent in December.

This number will likely go up even more this month, as BA integrates the final two of three Boeing 747 freighters into its fleet. The aircraft, which are being deployed on routes to London Stansted Airport, Frankfurt Airport, O’Hare International Airport and Hong Kong International Airport, will also be utilized on African routes, according to IAG Cargo Senior Vice President Jude Winstanley.

“The three new freighters will provide customers with increased capacity and reliability as well as an expanded network of freighter routes, including Nairobi and Johannesburg,” Winstanley said in a statement. “Our new routes illustrate not only our commitment to the global industry, but also the ongoing importance of Africa as a resilient part of our global network.”

While Africa is also a key region of interest for Air France-KLM Cargo, it’s the Americas sector that really has airline officials talking. The European carrier saw revenue-tonne kilometers increase 2.9 percent, year-over-year, in December on a capacity increase of 1 percent. Load factor also improved on these routes, increasing 1.4 percent from December 2010.

Unfortunately, gains in this region were offset by significant losses on Air France-KLM Cargo’s routes to Caribbean/Indian Ocean destinations. RTK in this sector plummeted 14.1 percent from December 2010 on a capacity increase of 5.7 percent. What’s more, load factor dropped to only 41.6 percent, a 9.6 percent, year-over-year decline.

Air France-KLM Cargo’s freight activity to Africa/the Middle East and the Asia-Pacific was relatively consistent with December 2010 statistics, increasing 0.7 percent and decreasing 1.9 percent, year-over-year, respectively; traffic to Europe remained flat.

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