Lufthansa Cargo boosted tonnage to an all-time high last year. Germany's biggest cargo airline carried around 1.9 million tonnes of freight and mail in 2011, an increase of five percent on the year-earlier level.
The airline raised capacity over the twelve months by 8.6 per cent. The increase is chiefly attributable to the integration, since the second half of 2010, of the capacities of aircraft in the fleet of Austrian Airlines and the expansion to eight Boeing 777 freighters in the fleet of the AeroLogic joint venture. In an increasingly difficult market environment, Lufthansa Cargo lifted sales of revenue freight-tonne kilometres by 6.5 per cent, so that capacity utilisation reached a high 69.5 per cent (Previous year: 70.9 per cent).
"Especially in our German home market, we made full use of strong export demand to gainmarket shares. On the other hand, the economic climate in the important Asian airfreight market became increasingly bleak over the course of the year and led to over-capacities and increased competition for all airlines in the airfreight industry," observed Lufthansa Cargo CEO and Chairman Karl Ulrich Garnadt. "That we managed to continue our growth course on a global level against that strong headwind manifests the strength and adoptability of Lufthansa Cargo," he said.
The cargo carrier is cautiously optimistic about the year ahead," the Chairman remarked: "Lufthansa Cargo is excellently positioned in all growth markets. We will stay on our successful course and adjust our capacities flexibly in line with demand."
Of crucial importance for the company's future, however, is the impending ruling by the highest Federal Administrative Court in Leipzig on the number of permissible night flights in Frankfurt.
"Germany profits from a strong and successful airfreight industry, which must not be decoupled for several hours, daily, from global trade flows. A night-flight ban would deal a severe blow to the entire industry and threaten thousands of jobs in Germany, not only in the logistics industry."
The business figures for the year 2011 will be published in March.
Intra-Asian and Asian outbound air freight traffic accounts for 47 percent of total international air cargo volumes.
The Asia Pacific region is set to lead a continued global growth in air freight volumes over the next four years.
China market confuses picture of the future
Like its mainland rivals, China Southern has been slow to develop its freight business because of a long-standing imbalance between imports and exports.