Lufthansa freight falls

Lufthansa freight falls

Lufthansa Cargo, Europe's largest air freight carrier, on Friday said shipments fell 3.2 percent in September from the same month a year ago as it struggled with growing traffic imbalances on key long haul routes.

Lufthansa blamed the decline, which reduced traffic to 131,000 tons and shaved revenues by 7 percent, on a "persistently weak economy."

Lufthansa said that despite a 5 percent cut in capacity from a year ago, its load factor, or portion of cargo space filled, slipped by 1.4 percentage points to 63.9 percent because of fluctuations in the two-way flow of shipments on major routes.

The strong euro and the economic slump in Europe, especially Germany, cut exports to the Asia/Pacific region while imports rose strongly, creating an imbalance which led to a drop of 2.9 percentage points in the load factor to 69.7 percent. Capacity on routes to North and South America was slashed by 10 percent but the load factor still declined by 1.9 percentage points to 64.5 percent.

- Bruce Barnard in London