The cargo arm of the traditionally passenger-focused American Airlines increased its second quarter freight volume by 10 percent to 158,757 tonnes compared to the same period last year, according to its recent quarterly statement.
The airline said this marks its best June performance in more than 10 years, standing out among many carriers that saw volumes flatten late in the second quarter.
The airline attributed the growth to a combination of factors, including its increased carriage of perishables like flowers and produce, as well as a rise in demand for the movement of e-commerce products between Brazil and various Asian and European destinations. The addition of a few larger projects, such as the transport of more than 385 tonnes of engine and auto accessories from Japan, contributed to the boost.
Despite the positive report, the airline is bracing investors to temper their enthusiasm in an uncertain market perpetuated by rising fuel prices and tension surrounding protectionist international relations and the U.K.’s departure from the European Union.
“We face risks associated with the uncertainty following the referendum and the consequences that may flow from the decision to exit the E.U., notably given the extent of our passenger and cargo traffic and that of our joint business partners that flows through LHR [London Heathrow] in the United Kingdom,” the carrier noted in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
Speaking to the rise in fuel prices, chairman and CEO William Douglas Parker advised, “To the extent any of us were viewing this quick run-up as a spike that would quickly correct itself, we should abandon that notion.”
The airline is forecasting a 30 percent increase in consolidated fuel expense in 2018 – which will tack on another $2.3 billion in expense for the company.