Air Cargo

HONG KONG — Air freight on the Asia-North America trade is riding a tailwind that filled freighters and bellies in the la


Hong Kong Air Cargo Terminals Ltd. (Hactl) ended a solid 2014 by recording its strongest quarter of the year as Asia’s air freight sector continued its robust recovery.

Blue Dart Express is denying that its parent DHL Express Singapore Pte. Ltd. is negotiating to sell its holdings in the Indian subsidiary to U.S. e-commerce giant Amazon.

Alitalia unveiled plans to increase its cargo operations as part of a strategy to return to profitability in 2017 following years of losses, billions of dollars of state subsidies and a narrow escape from bankruptcy.

Amsterdam Schiphol airport said cargo traffic got off to a slow start this year because increased trans-Pacific shipper demand for air cargo services due to U.S. West Coast port congestion is diverting freighters from Asia-Europe routes to the Pacific.

The air cargo industry had its longest peak season in years in 2014, driven by massive demand for new products, most notably the iPhone 6 that sold more than 40 million units in the third quarter alone. But the big question that has airline executives frantically polishing their crystal balls is whether airlines and air freight forwarders can count on the strong performance continuing through this year.

Frankfurt airport’s freight traffic increased just 1.7 percent in 2014, lagging growth at its main European rivals, as pilots at Lufthansa, its biggest customer, staged nine strikes through the year.

Cathay Pacific and its sister airline Dragonair carried 1.72 million tons of cargo during 2014, a 12 percent increase over the previous year as the strong second half performance continued into December.

Lufthansa Cargo is “cautiously optimistic” about its performance in 2015 after filling nearly 70 percent of its capacity in a fiercely competitive market last year, CEO Peter Greber said.

London Heathrow increased air freight traffic by 5.3 percent in 2014, driven by a surge in shipments to key emerging markets, but capacity restraints are threatening to slow growth at Europe’s fourth largest cargo hub.