European carriers hold out hope for holiday season despite mixed October traffic 

European carriers’ mixed preliminary traffic results for October indicate a bumpy entrance into airfreight’s traditional peak season against a backdrop of continued uncertainty in global trade and politics. Air France-KLM, Lufthansa Group and International Airlines Group reported year-over-year declines in cargo traffic. Only Turkish Cargo reported volume growth for the month.  

For the first ten months of 2019, three of the four carriers tracked by Air Cargo World reported declines in y-o-y traffic results. Despite 2019’s turbulent headwinds, stakeholders hope to see improved figures with the arrival of the holiday season and anticipate declines in y-o-y comparisons will lessen as the industry approaches the period when the first major traffic declines of late 2018 into 2019 began. 

For a closer look at carrier results:  

Air France-KLM’s October cargo traffic declined by 7.2% y-o-y to 735 million freight tonne kilometers (FTKs). Air France saw a decline in traffic of 9.0% y-o-y to 324 million FTKs, while KLM’s traffic for the month declined 5.7% y-o-y growth to 410 million FTKs. For the first ten months of the year, the group’s total cargo activity was down 1.9% y-o-y to 6.9 billion FTKs. Year-to-date, Air France’s demand was up 0.1% y-o-y to 3.1 billion FTKs, while KLM saw a decline of 3.4% to 3.8 billion FTKs.  

International Airlines Group reported that group traffic dropped 5.8% y-o-y in October to 487 million FTKs. While both Aer Lingus and Iberia account for a relatively small share of IAG’s overall cargo traffic, traffic at Aer Lingus declined 26.3% and flatlined at Iberia for October. Meanwhile, traffic declined by 6.9% y-o-y at British Airways for the month, which accounts for most of the Group’s traffic. From January to October, IAG’s cargo traffic declined 1.5% y-o-y to 4.6 billion FTKs, compared to the same period the year prior.  

Lufthansa Group reported a decline of 3.0% y-o-y in its October traffic to 927 million FTKs. The main inhibitor to growth can be traced to the carrier’s Asia-Pacific traffic, which declined 6.7% y-o-y, offsetting single digit growth in Europe and Middle East/Africa. Over the first ten months of 2019, Lufthansa saw a 2.0% decline in its overall traffic to 8.8 billion FTKs.  

Turkish Cargo reported a 7.9% y-o-y increase in cargo volumes carried during October, to just over 132,000 tonnes. For the first 10 months of 2019, cargo volumes are up 9.3% y-o-y to more than 1.1 million tonnes. 

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