European, Middle East carriers’ lag in traffic continues into August

Carrier’s based in the regions Europe and the Middle East reported mixed cargo traffic results in August as protectionist policies and the upcoming Brexit continue to create friction for global trade. Both Lufthansa Group and International Airlines Group reported year-over-year declines in cargo traffic, while Air France-KLM’s August performance was flat, in comparison to August 2018. Only Turkish Cargo reported significant volume growth for the month.

For the first eight months of 2019, two of the four carriers tracked by Air Cargo World reported positive y-o-y traffic results, though all carriers’ traffic remains weak from July to August. Beyond the poor global political economic environment, summer months are traditionally slower periods for air cargo, so some stakeholders are optimistic carriers will see a return in traffic as the industry moves into the holiday peak season.

For a closer look at carrier results:

Air France-KLM’s August cargo traffic declined by 5.7% y-o-y to 699 million freight-tonne kilometers (FTKs). Both Air France and KLM saw similar declines in traffic, of 5.4% y-o-y to 306 million FTKs, and 5.8% to 393 million FTKs, respectively, for the month. For the first seven months of the year, the group’s total cargo activity was down 0.9% y-o-y to 5.5 billion FTKs. Year-to-date, Air France’s demand was up 2.6% y-o-y to 2.4 billion FTKs, while KLM saw a decline of 3.5% to 3.0 billion FTKs.

International Airlines Groupreported group traffic down 6.1% y-o-y in August to 443 million FTKs. Traffic flatlined at Aer Lingus and increased at Iberia, which both account for a relatively small share of IAG’s overall cargo traffic. Meanwhile, traffic declined by 8.9% y-o-y at British Airways for the month, which accounts for most of the Group’s traffic. From January to August, IAG’s cargo traffic flatlined with 0.1% growth y-o-y at 3.1 billion FTKs, compared to the same period the year prior.

Lufthansa Group reported a slight improvement in y-o-y August traffic, which increased by 1.5% to 898 million FTKs. The main inhibitor to growth can be traced to the carrier’s Asia-Pacific traffic, which declined 8.0% y-o-y, offsetting growth in all other regions that ranged from single-digit (Americas/Europe) to sharply higher (Middle East/Africa). Over the first eight months of 2019, Lufthansa has seen a 1.6% decline in its overall volumes to 7.03 billion FTKs.

Turkish Cargo reported a 11.5% y-o-y increase in cargo volumes during August, to just over 130,000 tonnes. For the first eight months of 2019, cargo volumes are up 9.6% y-o-y to more than 985,000 tonnes.

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