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Cargo volume growth at Europe’s major cargo airports was less than stellar in the first quarter of 2018, with March being particularly weak. To some extent, this reflects the lackluster performance of the major cargo airlines with hubs at these airports:
Lufthansa reported its cargo volume up just 0.4 percent y-o-y in March and 4.9 percent for the quarter, while Frankfurt (FRA), Lufthansa’s main hub, saw its handle decline 1.7 percent in March and increase just 0.7 percent for the quarter.
Air France-KLM continued to report dismal cargo numbers, with traffic down 1.7 percent and 0.4 percent for the month and quarter. This was reflected at Amsterdam Schiphol (AMS), KLM’s hub, as cargo volume fell 4.8 percent in March and 2.1 percent in the quarter.
March cargo traffic at IAG, parent of British Airways, was down 0.5 percent in March and down 0.7 percent in the first quarter. London Heathrow (LHR), BA’s main hub, fared a bit better, but still only reported its cargo handle up 1.5 percent and 4.3 percent for the month and quarter, respectively.
But turn now to Leipzig Halle Airport (LEJ) in Eastern Germany, and the story is different. DHL Express’ main hub reported its March cargo handle up 8.5 percent to an all-time record 107,000 tonnes, while volume for the first quarter jumped 12.3 percent to 299,000 tonnes. DHL has not yet published its 1Q18 financial and operational data, but we expect to see the company’s parcel volumes growing at a rate significantly higher than that of the cargo traffic at the big general cargo carriers.
Looking at the Americas, the big carriers fared much better than their European counterparts, with traffic growth at LATAM, Delta, and United averaging close to double digits for the month and the quarter.
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