European airlines saw cargo demand growth improve in November, despite expectations that the industry may have passed its growth peak.
Lufthansa, IAG, Air France KLM and Finnair all saw cargo demand growth increase during the month.
Lufthansa, the largest of the airlines in terms of cargo, registered a 9.4% year-on-year increase in traffic to 962m revenue cargo tonne kms.
The growth recorded for the month is ahead of its year-to-date improvement of 7.4% and is also up on the 2.4% improvement recorded in October.
The airline group’s cargo load factor reached 71.9% compared with 71% last year.
There was a similar improvement at the IAG group, where cargo demand increased by 9.7% year on year in November to 531m cargo tonne kms.
This is an improvement on the 6.5% growth registered for the first 11 months and the 4.8% increase recorded in October.
November was also IAG’s busiest month of the year so far, and the busiest November since 2011.
Air France KLM also registered an improvement in cargo demand during November, as it reported growth of 6.9% year on year to 759m revenue tonne kms.
This is far ahead of its improvement over the first 11 months of the year of 1.9% and also represents the carrier group’s largest monthly percentage growth in cargo traffic.
Figures at AF KLM for most of the year are, however, skewed by a slimming down of the KLM freighter fleet, which had an impact on traffic carried.
The carrier group saw its cargo load factor reach 65.3% in November compared with 63.6% last year.
Finally, Finnair continued to register strong improvements in cargo demand as its November traffic improved by 12.4% to 83.8m revenue tonne kms.
This was the airline’s busiest November on record (since 2011) and is ahead of year-to-date growth of 8.9%.
The carrier has been taking delivery of widebody A350 aircraft during the year. By 2020, the delivery of these planes will have helped expand cargo capacity by 40%.
The improvement in demand at the airlines comes despite IATA warning in its October market round-up that the industry may have passed its peak for the current growth cycle.