Lufthansa Cargo said the global air freight market could pick up in 2014, reversing two years of flat demand, following positive developments towards the end of 2013.
“If the welcome trends of recent weeks in global air cargo markets, particularly in Asia, continue, then we can feel optimistic about the new year,” said Karl Ulrich Garnadt, CEO of Europe’s largest scheduled cargo airline.
The Lufthansa Group, which includes Swiss World Cargo, increased traffic on its Asia routes by 7.4 percent in December from a year ago to 43,000 metric tons. This offset a 5 percent decline in its Americas network to 43,000 metric tons and a 14.6 percent collapse in the Middle East/Africa region to 14,000 metric tons. The Lufthansa Group’s freight traffic fell 0.9 percent in 2013 to 1.965 million metric tons.
Lufthansa Cargo carried 1.715 million metric tons of freight in 2013, down 1 percent on the previous year with the load factor edging up by 0.2 percentage point to 69.9 percent. December volume dipped 2.3 percent to 133,000 metric tons, even as capacity rose 5 percent, mainly in the bellies of Lufthansa passenger aircraft.
Lufthansa Cargo responded to muted demand through 2013 with “highly flexible and demand-oriented capacity management,” Garnadt said. “We are able to hold our own even in a difficult market environment and have laid the basis in 2013 for important developments in our company.”
Lufthansa Cargo, which took delivery of two new Boeing 777 freighters in November as part of a modernization program, will add a further two aircraft in the first half of 2014.