KLM cargo soars in Feb.

KLM cargo soars in Feb.

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Europe's fourth largest carrier, today said cargo traffic in February jumped 11 percent from a year ago, more than double the increase in passenger volume, as extra freighter capacity helped boost shipments on Asia-Pacific routes by a third.

The increase, following a 1 percent rise in January, was achieved with an 8 percent lift in capacity which left the load factor, or portion of cargo space filled, two percentage points higher at 75.5 percent.

KLM Cargo said the higher traffic was exclusively due to a 32 percent leap in Asia-Pacific routes following the introduction of a third 747-400 extended-range freighter which boosted capacity by 24 percent. The load factor on Asian services, which account for half the carrier's cargo revenues, rose 4.8 percentage points to 85.3 percent.

The strong Asia-Pacific performance more than compensated for lower traffic on all other routes except Africa. On the North Atlantic, KLM's second largest market, capacity and traffic both fell by 7 percent, leaving the load factor broadly unchanged from a year ago at 74.3 percent. Freight traffic outbound from Europe continued to be depressed, reflecting the impact of the strong euro on exports.

Passenger traffic rose 5 percent on unchanged capacity, lifting the load factor by 3.2 percentage points to 80.4 percent.