Euro air-cargo rally sputters in June

Euro air-cargo rally sputters in June

LONDON - The rally in European air cargo weakened in June as BAA, the world's biggest airports operator, and Lufthansa Cargo, the second-largest freight airline, reported lower traffic.

British-based BAA said cargo through its seven United Kingdom hubs fell 2.5 percent year-on-to 140,607 metric tons, the third monthly decline in 2003, reflecting capacity reductions on routes to the Far East which had driven large increases earlier in the year.

Cargo decreased by 1.8 per cent at London Heathrow, to 103,000 tons, but London Stansted, BAA's main all-cargo and express hub, bucked the trend as volume rose 1.7 percent to just under 16,000 tons. Despite the softening market, BAA's cargo traffic over the past 12 months is up 1.7 percent at 1.164 million tons.

BAA's passenger traffic totalled 12 million in June, an increase of 2.9 percent on the previous year as air travel recovered from the impact of the Iraq war and the SARS virus. Traffic on key North Atlantic routes was down only 1.6 percent from the same month the previous year.

Lufthansa Cargo's volume slid 5.4 percent in June to 120,000 tons and revenue dropped 5 percent as a result of a weak global economy and declining German exports. Utilization of cargo capacity slipped 2. 3 percent to 64.5 percent but remained over 70 percent on Asia/Pacific routes thanks to strong exports to Germany.

Lufthansa's trans-Atlantic cargo traffic is expected to increase this month with the start of a cooperation agreement with DHL Worldwide, the air express unit of Germany's Deutsche Post World Net. The carrier is routing its Cologne-New York flights through DHL's East Midlands, U.K. DHL has booked half of Lufthansa's capacity under a blocked space agreement.