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European cargo monthly: Demand growth picks up in May

Major European airlines saw cargo growth pick up again in May following on from a slight slowdown in April.

The latest freight figures from Air France KLM, Finnair, IAG and Lufthansa also show an improvement in year-on-year percent growth compared with the level achieved in April.

At Lufthansa Cargo there was a 7.2% year-on-year improvement in demand in May as revenue cargo tonne kms reached 903m, representing the airline’s busiest May since 2011.

While this was an improvement on the 6% growth achieved in April, it still lagged behind the 7.5% increase registered over the first five months of the year.

Capacity during May increased by less than 1% and as a result the group's cargo load factors reached 67.8% against 63.8% last year.

Meanwhile, Air France KLM Cargo saw traffic increase by 3.8% in May to 725m revenue tonne kms. This is ahead of the carrier group’s year-to-date growth of 1.4%.

However, its RTKs for May were still behind the level achieved during the same month in 2015. The Franco-Dutch airline group’s cargo load factor for the month reached 58.8% compared with 57.6% last year.

IAG Cargo was also on the up during the month as it registered an improvement of 4.6% on a year earlier with traffic reaching 474m cargo tonne km, representing the airline group’s busiest May since 2012.

It is the 14 month in a row demand has improved year on year and over the first five months, traffic is 3.7% ahead of a year earlier.

During the month, Iberia saw demand improve by 4.9%, British Airways was up 3.9% and Aer Lingus by 27.3%.

Finally, Finnair seems to be putting a difficult start to the year behind it as cargo traffic improved by 12% year on year to 82.7m revenue tonne km in May.

The airline group registered demand declines in January, February and April as a new cargo system bedded in and pilots were sent out on training ahead of the arrival of new aircraft.

The double-digit percentage improvement registered in the month has pushed its year-to-date performance to an improvement of 0.3%.

The airline’s cargo load factor for the month stood at 65.8% compared with 56.8% last year.

US carriers also continued their impressive start to the year in May.

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