Germany’s Lufthansa Cargo posted a 52.5 percent decline in third quarter profit but it remains one of the few major cargo carriers in the black amid slumping global demand for air freight and persistently high oil prices.
The drop in operating profit to 19 million euros ($24.7 million) from 40 million euros ($52 million) in the third quarter of 2011 was also affected by the night flight ban at Lufthansa’s Frankfurt hub, which mainly affects freighters.
Revenue sank 8.9 percent to $849 million from $932 million as freight traffic fell 8.1 percent to 423,000 metric tons.
Profit in the first nine months of the year slumped 61.8 percent to $85.8 million, and revenue fell 9.7 percent to $2.6 billion on an 8.9 percent decrease in traffic to 1.3 million tons.
The carrier, which operates 18 MD-11 freighters, said it expects to book an operating profit in the low three-figure million euro range for 2012. It made a profit of 249 million euros ($324 million) in 2011, its second best result.
Lufthansa attributed its continuing profitability to strict capacity and cost management in response to slumping demand, particularly on the Asia-Pacific network, where traffic is down 12.9 percent in the first nine months of the year.
A 7.9 percent reduction in capacity in the first three quarters stabilized the load factor at 69 percent while average yields were roughly on par with the previous year’s yields.
The carrier said that as demand for air freight is only expected to recover in mid-2013 at the earliest, it will continue to focus on a high load factor, stable average yields and strict cost control.
The parent Lufthansa group boosted net income in the third quarter by 30 percent to $835million from $642 million in the year-earlier period on a 6.2 percent increase in revenue to $10.8 billion.