Air Cargo springs back from the abyss

The air cargo results keep pouring in – and if you are an airline, they’re very good. IATA today released its six-month figures showing it was the best first half-year since 2010.

Lufthansa Cargo turned round its figures in the second quarter, as there’s currently a big boom in air freight, with sea freight having stored or scraped vast amounts of capacity in the last ten years that cannot quickly be made up, but with a glut of new ships about to enter service.

Back in service after storage.

It’s unlikely the air freight boom will continue on this scale for long, but even it slackens it will be well ahead of where it was 12-24 months ago. Lufthansa operates 5 777F’s and 14 MD-11F’s, having put one MD-11F back into service in June. The company made €84m profit, having made a €46m loss this time last year. Overall business was up 18.8% year on year.

AF Cargo F-GUOB was still in the old livery in April this year

They’re not the only ones to benefit. Air France-KLM Cargo made substantial gains year on year but it’s small fleet of just 6 aircraft – 4 744F’s all operating from Amsterdam and two 777F’s from Paris CDG, turned in a profit, but much of that was gains from belly cargo on passenger routes, as much as it was mainline freight.

One of the scariest facts though, is the margins are still so small. Just 5 EuroCents per tonne kilometer flown.


Another boom area, for all the wrong reasons, but one air freight is good at exploiting, is the need to supply Qatar by air. Qatar’s airline cargo capacity is substantial with aircraft and belly freight, but Turkish Airlines is flat-out supplying Qatar at present, even bringing in Kalitta Air 744’s to boost its capacity. Freight rates on almost every airline that flies there are sky high.