Lufthansa Cargo reported a sharply smaller decline in freight traffic in May for the third month running, underpinning the carrier’s forecast of a pickup in demand in the second half of the year.
Traffic dipped 2.2 percent from a year ago to 144,000 metric tons on 3.1 percent less capacity, while revenue was down just 0. 8 percent.
The modest decline follows year-over-year declines of 2 percent in April and 4.5 percent in March that contrasted with decreases of 12.9 percent and 8.3 percent in the previous two months.
The May load factor improved 1.6 percentage points to 67.8 percent.
The Lufthansa group, which includes SwissWorldCargo, saw freight volume decline 1.9 percent from a year earlier to 165,000 tons. The Americas market appears close to bottoming out with traffic dropping just 1.1 percent to 50,000 tons, and continues to outperform the Asia-Pacific region, which posted a 3.6 percent decrease to 45,000 tons.
Lufthansa is pulling ahead of its main European rivals, Air France-KLM and IAG, the merged British Airways-Iberia carrier.
Air France-KLM reported May traffic declined 6.4 percent from a year ago, outpacing a 3.5 percent reduction in capacity. The Franco-Dutch carrier also said that restructuring of its cargo unit has been slowed by “the difficult economic environment within Europe.”
IAG traffic slumped 10.8 percent in May and revenue fell 4.6 percent from a year ago on 4 percent less capacity. BA, the stronger performer over the past year, saw volume drop 11.3 percent, while Iberia, which has posted several months of double digit declines, held the decline to 8.6 percent.