Early reports from some of the world’s big cargo carriers and airports show mixed results. There were some big gains — China Southern Airlines and Pactl (the big handler at Shanghai Pudong), as well as American Airlines all reported double-digit increase. There were also some relatively poor results — Strike-hit Lufthansa Group was down 8.1%, and LATAM saw cargo demand drop almost 12% in April.
We will update the chart as more results come in, but at the moment it is hard to see much of a pattern.
Looking at the results so far:
Shanghai-based China Eastern Airlines reported April cargo traffic down 1.6% y-o-y to 382 million RTKs. International traffic was down 1.7% to 297 million RTKs, while domestic traffic was down 0.9% to 75 million RTKs. For the first four months of 2014, China Eastern’s cargo traffic was up 2.3% to 1.50 billion RTKs.
Guangzhou-based China Southern Airlines reported April cargo traffic up 20.5% y-o-y to 429 million RTKs. International traffic was up 24.8% to 297 million RTKs, while domestic traffic was up 11.9% to 131 million RTKs. For the year through April, China Southern’s cargo traffic was up 11.1% to 1.48 billion RTKs.
Shanghai Pudong International Airport Cargo Terminals Co. Ltd (Pactl, the biggest cargo handler at PVG) reported its April handle up 13.9% to 123,000 tonnes. This follows a 17.4% rise in March, and continues the trend of strong growth seen in the first two months. For April, Pactl’s international volume was up 15.4% to 115,000 tonnes, while the much smaller domestic volume was down 4.6% to 7,000 tonnes (most of Shanghai’s domestic cargo moves through nearby Hongqiao Airport). For the first four months of 2014, Pactl’s handle was up 14.3% to 444,000 tonnes.
Europe & Middle East
Lufthansa Cargo, hit by a three-day pilots’ strike, reported April traffic up down 10.6% y-o-y to 634 million RTKs. For the Lufthansa Group as a whole, April cargo traffic was down 8.1% to 766 million RTKs. For the first four months of the year, Lufthansa Cargo’s traffic was down 1.0% to 2.70 billion RTKs, while Group cargo traffic was down 0.1% to 3.22 billion RTKs.
Air France-KLM reported April cargo traffic down 0.6% y-o-y to 831 million RTKs. This follows low-single-digit gains in February and March, and returns the carrier to its long-term trend of declines. Traffic was up 2.6% on the trans-Atlantic trade lane to 345 million RTKs, but this was not enough to offset a 5.1% decline on the Asia-Pacific lane to 308 million RTKs. For the year through April, AF-KLM’s cargo traffic was up 1.2% to 3.29 billion RTKs.
International Airlines Group reported April cargo traffic down 7.7% y‑o‑y to 468 million RTKs. Subsidiary carrier British Airways began returning the first of the three 747-8Fs it leased from Atlas Air in early April, and had returned all three by the end of the month. The loss of that much main-deck capacity is likely what is responsible for the traffic decline in April, and will have a similar negative impact on y-o-y results for the rest of the year. For the first four months of 2014, IAG’s cargo traffic was down 1.6% to 1.80 billion RTKs.
London’s Heathrow Airport (LHR) reported its April handle up 4.4% y-o-y to 120,000 tonnes. For the first four months of this year, LHR’s handle was up 3.2% to 475,000 tonnes.
LATAM Airlines Group reported April cargo traffic down steeply (11.5%) y-o-y to 360 million RTKs, as capacity declined 11.5%. Commenting on the decline, the company said: “The decrease in cargo capacity and cargo traffic is a result of a reduced freighter operation driven by weaker seasonal products from Latin America.” For the first four months of the year, LATAM’s cargo traffic was down 4.9% to 1.43 billion RTKs.
United Airlines reported April cargo traffic up 3.4% to 194 million RTKs. For the year through April United’s cargo traffic was up 6.2% to 780 million RTKs.
Delta Air Lines reported March cargo traffic down 1.4% y-o-y to 185 million RTKs. For the four months of 2014, Delta’s cargo traffic was down 4.0% to 720 million RTKs.
American Airlines (now including US Airways) continues to reap the benefits of its increased focus on cargo, reporting April cargo traffic up 12.9% y-o-y to 197 million RTKs. For the first quarter of 2014, American’s cargo traffic was up 12.2% to 757 million RTKs.