KLM cargo up in Sept.

KLM cargo up in Sept.

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines on Friday posted a 4 percent increase in freight traffic in September compared with a year ago, driven by double-digit growth on its Asian routes.

Traffic on Asia/Pacific services surged 12 percent as KLM continued to benefit from additional frequencies following the introduction in the spring of two new Boeing 747 extended range freighters. Capacity rose 14 percent, trimming the load factor, or portion of cargo space filled, by 1.6 percentage points to 85 percent.

KLM's Asian traffic is set to increase with the launch of a joint venture with China Southern Airlines operating four weekly 747 freighter flights between Amsterdam and Shanghai beginning Oct. 15.

The recent recovery on the North Atlantic faltered, however, with traffic sliding 3 percent on flat capacity which squeezed the load factor by 0.5 percentage points to 69.9 percent.

The September increase was achieved on 6 percent additional capacity which cut the overall load factor by 0.9 percentage points, to 72.9 percent.

The latest figures, following increases of 9 percent in August and 5 percent in July, widened the performance gap with the passenger division, which suffered a 4 percent decline on 3 percent lower capacity in September.