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2011 cargo: So far, so good. Traffic and volume statistics for January from some of the world’s big cargo carriers and handlers are beginning to surface and, as shown in the individual reports below, there is no sign of any fall-off in demand for air freight. The year-over-year increases are nowhere near the 25% gains reported in early 2010, but that is because the comparisons are now being made to months that featured healthy demand, so the gains shown below are actually quite strong. (We point out, however, that because the timing of the Lunar New Year holiday in Asia varies, it is always better to consider January and February together, rather than to look at either month in isolation.)
- LUFTHANSA CARGO reported January cargo traffic up 21.0% y-o-y. We note, however, that Lufthansa Cargo’s capacity was up 25.0% y-o-y in January, reflecting the return to service of several parked MD-11Fs, and the addition of four 777Fs to the AeroLogic fleet.
- AIR FRANCE-KLM reported January cargo traffic up 3.4%. Of the carrier’s two major trade lanes, traffic grew much faster on the trans-Atlantic (up 8.8%) than on the Europe/Asia route (up just 2.2%).
- INTERNATIONAL AIRLINES GROUP (the new name for the merged BRITISH AIRWAYS and IBERIA) reported combined cargo traffic up 5.8%. Taken separately, BA’s cargo traffic was up 2.6%, while Iberia’s cargo traffic jumped 17.9%.
- Chile-based LAN reported January cargo traffic up 12.6%. The carrier said this increase was mainly due to three factors: the growth of the import traffic to Latin America, particularly Brazil, the addition of two 767 freighters late in 2010, and the launch of domestic operations in Brazil through affiliate carrier ABSA.
- Hong Kong Air Cargo Terminals (Hactl, which handles about 80% of the cargo moving through Hong Kong International Airport) reported its January handle up 8.2% y-o-y to 230,000 tonnes. The biggest increase was in transshipment cargo, up 19.9% to 44,000 tonnes, while export volume rose 6.6% to 122,000 tonnes and import volume was up 4.1% to 63,000 tonnes.