Air France-KLM significantly narrowed its cargo loss in the first quarter as it reduced freighter operations, but it failed to close the gap with its key European rival Lufthansa Cargo.
The Franco-Dutch carrier’s freight unit posted an operating loss of 50 million ($65.5 million), down from 70 million euros ($91.7 million) in the first three months of 2012, as revenue shrank 5.9 percent to 700 million euros ($917 million) from 744 million euros ($975 million).
Lufthansa Cargo, by contrast, booked a first quarter profit of $35.4 million on lower revenue of $785 million.
Air France-KLM attributed the lower cargo loss to on-going cost-cutting measures, which include slashing the French carrier’s freighter capacity by 20 percent. KLM also is trimming its freighter fleet by transferring aircraft to its all-cargo subsidiary Martinair.
Air France-KLM cut capacity by 4.1 percent from a year ago, but traffic declined 6.9 percent, which depressed the cargo load factor by 1.9 percentage points to 63 percent. Unit revenue, excluding the impact of currency movements, declined 1 percent.
The Air France-KLM group posted a smaller first quarter operating loss of $694 million compared with $800 million a year ago as revenue grew 1.3 percent to $7.5 billion.