In a Reuters television interview Lufthansa’s Chief Financial Officer Stephan Gemkow said: “The cargo business is currently absolutely booming. For the first time in over 10 years we are seeing not just strong imports out of China, but also strong exports to China.”When asked about the immediate future, Gemkow said: “As far as a CFO can be optimistic, I am optimistic.”
He pointed out that rising wages in China were driving demand for goods made in Europe and North America. In fact, recent trade data shows that China’s imports were up 34% y-o-y in June. This, combined with a 44% increased in exports, has been a windfall for carriers, allowing them to increase yield on the backhaul to China.
Interestingly, while cargo traffic is up strongly for Lufthansa, and also up strongly at most European airports, the region’s other two big combination carriers (Air France-KLM and British Airways) are not doing particularly well. In fact, Air France just reported it’s June cargo traffic effectively flat compared to last year, and BA’s June cargo traffic was up just 5.4%.