EUROPE/CIS: Air France-KLM Cargo returns to black

Air France-KLM’s cargo unit turned in a US$81.6 million operating profit in the final three months of 2010 from a $39.5 million loss a year ago, extending a yearlong recovery that has been driven by sharply higher margins. Revenue jumped almost 28 per cent to $1.1 billion in the carrier’s third quarter from $884 million […]


Air France-KLM’s cargo unit turned in a US$81.6 million operating profit in the final three months of 2010 from a $39.5 million loss a year ago, extending a yearlong recovery that has been driven by sharply higher margins. Revenue jumped almost 28 per cent to $1.1 billion in the carrier’s third quarter from $884 million in the year-earlier period. Traffic rose 4.9 per cent in the quarter from a year ago on a 3.8 per cent increase in capacity, which boosted the load factor almost one percentage point to 70.4 per cent. Unit revenue per tonne of cargo transported gained 27.7 per cent in the quarter. The cargo division booked a profit of $106 million in the first nine months of the fiscal year against a $507 million loss a year earlier as revenue soared 35.4 per cent to $3.25 billion from $2.4 billion. Traffic grew only 3.4 per cent in the first nine months while unit revenue was up 30.9 per cent. The strong cargo performance contrasted with setbacks at the passenger unit caused by strikes by French air traffic controllers in October and harsh weather in December that resulted in thousands of cancelled flights and pushed Europe’s largest carrier into an unexpected quarterly loss of $62.5 million compared with a loss of $401 million a year earlier. Air France-KLM saw cargo volume rise 3.4 per cent year-on-year in January on a 3.3 per cent increase in capacity, with Americas traffic rising 5 per cent and Asia-Pacific volumes gaining 8.4 per cent. “The numerous one-off events (volcano, weather disruptions, air traffic control stoppages and geopolitical events) which have affected the current year do not call into question the structural recovery achieved by the group in 2010,” the airline said. “Our ability to adapt the network to geopolitical constraints remains.”