Lufthansa Cargo’s traffic slumped 9.4 percent in November from a year ago, as a night flight ban at its Frankfurt hub forced the German carrier to trim freighter capacity.
Despite the traffic decline, partly caused by a weak global market, the carrier's throughput in the first 11 months of 2011 is up 5.3 percent year-over-year. Cargo revenue shrank 5.2 percent in November on a 3 percent cut in capacity, which trimmed the load factor by 1.6 percentage points to 69.8 percent.
The number of flights dropped by 9.8 percent in the first month of the night flight ban, which will remain in place at least until March pending a final ruling by Germany’s administrative court.
The Lufthansa group, which includes SwissCargo, saw freight traffic decline 8.8 percent in November, but throughput in the first 11 months of 2011 is up 5.1 percent year-over-year.
The Americas remained the best performing region, with November traffic declining just 2.7 percent. Asia-Pacific shipments tumbled 11.5 percent,while Middle East and Africa traffic slumped 15.1 percent.
Lufthansa Cargo will cut capacity by at least 20 to 25 percent and possibly by as much as 30 percent between mid-December and mid-January. The carrier has said it might ground some of its eighteen MD-11 freighters in the new year but it will not park them in the desert as it did in the 2009 recession.
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