European carrier traffic for September reflects deteriorated global trade 

Carriers based in Europe and the Middle East reported mixed cargo traffic results for September against a backdrop of intensified downward pressure on global trade, as highlighted by IATA and WorldACD reports earlier this month. 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 nine months of 2019, three of the four carriers tracked by Air Cargo World reported declines in y-o-y traffic results, though all carriers’ traffic weakened from August to September. As air cargo enters its traditional peak season, stakeholders in air cargo are hopeful to see improved figures but ultimately maintain conservative views on any potential growth. 

For a closer look at carrier results: 

Air France-KLM’s September cargo traffic declined by 3.8% y-o-y to 698 million freight tonne kilometers (FTKs). Air France saw a decline in traffic of 8.4% y-o-y to 304 million FTKs, while KLM’s traffic for the month flatlined at 0.1% y-o-y growth to 394 million FTKs. For the first nine months of the year, the group’s total cargo activity was down 1.6% y-o-y to 6.3 billion FTKs. Year-to-date, Air France’s demand was up 1.3% y-o-y to 2.8 billion FTKs, while KLM saw a decline of 3.1% to 3.5 billion FTKs. 

International Airlines Group reported that group traffic dropped 9.1% y-o-y in September to 441 million FTKs. Traffic declined 6.7% y-o-y at Aer Lingus and increased 6.1% y-o-y at Iberia, which both account for a relatively small share of IAG’s overall cargo traffic. Meanwhile, traffic declined by 13.5% y-o-y at British Airways for the month, which accounts for most of the Group’s traffic. From January to September, IAG’s cargo traffic declined 1.0% growth y-o-y to 4.1 billion FTKs, compared to the same period the year prior. 

Lufthansa Group reported decline of 3.6% y-o-y in its September traffic to 889 million FTKs. The main inhibitor to growth can be traced to the carrier’s Asia-Pacific and Americas traffic, which declined 4.8% and 5.1% y-o-y, respectively, offsetting single digit growth in Europe and Middle East/Africa. Over the first three quarters of 2019, Lufthansa saw a 1.9% decline in its overall traffic to 7.9 billion FTKs. 

Turkish Cargo reported a 9.8% y-o-y increase in cargo volumes during September, to 134,500 tonnes. For the first nine months of 2019, cargo volumes are up 9.6% y-o-y to more than 1.1 million tonnes. 

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