Air France-KLM’s freight losses ballooned to 67 million euros ($87 million) in the third quarter from 37 million euros ($48 million) a year ago as the global economic slowdown exacerbated overcapacity across the air cargo industry.
The Franco-Dutch carrier’s cargo revenue dipped 1.9 percent to $985 million from a little over $1 billion in the third quarter of 2011.
Traffic fell 6.6 percent on 3.7 percent less capacity, which trimmed the load factor by 1.9 percentage points to 61.8 percent. Unit revenue per ton kilometer rose 0.7 percent, driven by a positive currency impact of 6.7 percent.
Cargo losses in the first nine months more than tripled to $256 million from $78 million in the year-earlier period on a 3.2 percent drop in revenue to $2.95 billion.
The carrier, which has transferred the bulk of its cargo fleet to its Martinair subsidiary, idled seven of its 22 freighters during the quarter. Air France Cargo is reducing its freighter capacity by 20 percent as part of a restructuring aimed at returning to profitability.
The widening cargo loss contrasted with a strong performance in the passenger unit which boosted third quarter operating profit by 27.2 percent to $589 million on a 7.8 percent increase in revenue to $7.08 billion.
This helped Air France-KLM post third quarter net income of $398 million against $18 million a year ago, while operating profit was 27.5 percent higher at $658 million as revenue grew 5.8 percent to $9.3 billion.