To take a closer look at April’s results…
Hong Kong International Airport reported a 4.8% increase in its April cargo handle to 426,000 tonnes, with 17% growth in transshipments – particularly in cargo throughput to North America – primarily responsible for the growth. However, April’s growth stood 4.1 percentage points under the 8.9% y-o-y growth reported in April 2017, and year-to-date traffic is even lower, at 4.2%. The comparison is particularly difficult, as the airport recorded nearly double-digit growth for the full year of 2017.
Guangzhou-based China Southern Airlines reported April cargo traffic up 4% year-over-year, sharply lower compared with April 2017’s 16.8% y-o-y growth. RTKs were up slightly month-to-month as well, rising 2.2% to 632 million RTKs for April.
Shanghai Pudong International Airport Cargo Terminal Co Ltd (Pactl, the biggest cargo handler at Shanghai’s Pudong Airport) reported a 7.2% increase in its April handle y-o-y, to 163,000 tonnes, representing only a slight increase from its March handle. Pactl’s year-to-date handle through April stood just under 600,000 tonnes for a 6.3% increase. The increase in Pactl’s handle comes from increases in international cargo, which was up 7.4% for April and 6.8% year-to-date, y-o-y. Domestic cargo year-to-date through April declined 2.4%, as most of the domestic cargo that moves through Shanghai is handled at Hongqiao Airport (SHA).
Singapore Airlines’ April cargo traffic fell 0.4% y-o-y to 578 million RTKs. However, year-to-date through April, the carrier recorded a 3.3% y-o-y increase in RTKs, up from the 2.8% growth during the first four months of 2017.
Taiwan-based China Airlines reported higher y-o-y growth for April 2018, of 5.4% to 491 million RTKs, compared with only 1.2% y-o-y growth recorded in April 2017. However, April figures represent a month-to-month decline for the carrier of about 0.6%.
Taiwan-based EVA Air also recorded an increase in y-o-y growth in April compared with 2017, via a 4.1% increase in cargo traffic to 311 million RTKs. Month-to-month, cargo traffic for the carrier declined 2.4%. Over the first four months of 2018, cargo traffic in RTKs increased by only 2.5%, however, compared with stronger growth of 5.6% for January through April 2017.
South Korea-based Incheon Airport reported a significantly lower cargo handle in April 2018 compared with the prior year, as April’s y-o-y growth for 2018 was virtually flat, increasing only 0.1% to 247,000 tonnes. Month-to-month volumes were 5.1% lower, and year-to-date volumes through April rose only 1.1% y-o-y, compared with 11.5% growth over the same period in 2017.
Europe & Middle East
Lufthansa Group reported April traffic up 3.4% y-o-y to 929 million RTKs, down from the 6% April growth recorded for 2017. Year-to-date traffic was up by 4.5% y-o-y, but still lags the stronger 7.7% growth over the first four months of 2017. Capacity grew more than demand for April – increasing 6.9% y-o-y to 1.383 billion available cargo tonne kilometers.
Air France-KLM reported a 6% decline in April cargo traffic y-o-y, to 675 million RTKs. Most of the decline in cargo traffic was on the Air France side, which declined 1.1% y-o-y in April to 275 million RTKs, while KLM reported a smaller RTK decline of 0.3% to 400 million RTKs. Year-to-date, Air France-KLM traffic declined by 1.9% through April, to 2.71 billion RTKs.
International Airlines Group reported a 3.0% increase in April traffic y-o-y, to 480 million RTKs, in line with the 3.1% growth reported for April 2017. April’s results mark the first month of 2018 in which the group recorded y-o-y volume growth, and subsequently, year-to-date growth through April was only 0.2%, at 1.84 billion RTKs. Of the airlines within the group, subsidiary carrier Iberia reported the strongest month with 11.9% y-o-y growth to 94 million RTKs.
Turkish Airlines reported April cargo volumes up 18.1% y-o-y to 112,999 tonnes, down from April 2017’s robust 35.8% growth. However, year-to-date growth at the carrier was an outstanding 31.5%, by far the strongest growth reported by any major carrier, airport, or handler so far in 2018, and well-above the 24.1% y-o-y growth recorded for the first four months of 2017. Month-to-month, volumes declined overall and for most regions, with the exceptions of North America and Central and South America.
Frankfurt Airport (FRA) reported an increase of 2.3% y-o-y in its cargo handle for April, to 190,000 tonnes. While the increase outpaced the past April’s 1.9% growth rate, year-to-date traffic through April 2018 was lower than during the same period in 2017, at only 1.1% for a total of 729,000 tonnes.
Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport reported a 6.3% decline in April traffic y-o-y to 137,000 tonnes, and a 3.2% decline year-to-date through April, to 549,000 tonnes. The ongoing decline reflects the capacity squeeze at Schiphol, where recently-enforced slot restrictions have seen many freighter flights move to other airports in Europe.
London’s Heathrow Airport (LHR) reported a 2.3% increase in its cargo handle to 141,000 tonnes, down from an 8.6% increase recorded for April 2018. Volumes for the first four months of 2018 were up 3.8% year-over-year.
Chile-headquartered LATAM Airlines Group reported a 9.9% y-o-y increase for April, to 295 million RTKs. While April saw less growth than March, when traffic increased 13.6% y-o-y, the gain compared with April 2017’s y-o-y decline of 2.8% is significant, reflecting Brazil’s economic recovery and improved performance among Latin American operators.
Delta Air Lines reported a 4.1% increase in cargo traffic y-o-y for April, to 267 million RTKs, and a year-to-date increase of 6.3%. While the monthly increase is less than that reported for April 2017, when volumes increased 9.5% y-o-y, the ongoing growth reflects the overall improvement at the carrier, which has now recorded thirteen consecutive months of y-o-y gains after several years of demand decline.
United Airlines reported April cargo traffic up 5.7% to 410 million RTKs, while year-to-date traffic through April rose 8.3% to 1.60 billion RTKs. While growth has remained steady at United Airlines, it has slowed considerably from the 19.5% y-o-y growth recorded for April 2017.