Air France-KLM Cargo sticks with maindeck

The Air France-KLM-Martinair (AF-KLM-MA) Cargo group has no plans to exit the maindeck market despite recently announcing plans to cut as much as 30 per cent of its full freighter capacity within the next two years and sharply increasing its focus on belly capacity. Donald Urquhart reports from Amsterdam.


Air France-KLM Cargo sticks with maindeck


Speaking to press in Amsterdam recently, senior cargo executives representing the component airlines of the Franco-Dutch airline group said significant changes within the industry were behind this decision to scale back its freighter capacity. “We see at this moment a more belly-dominant trend rather than a freight-dominant trend,” said Erik Varwijk, executive VP of AF-KLM-MA Cargo.

“We see the number of freighters around the world decreasing and at this moment our view [for AF-KLM-MA] is that freighters will remain, we are committed to be a maindeck business, but the dynamics on the belly side are going to be stronger than on the freighter side. And that will have its consequences on the industry and certainly on us and basically requires playing the same game.

“As a consequence we intend to adjust our freighter footprint – at this moment we operate 14 freighters, but in the two years to come we intend to retire four of those aircraft,” he added. But getting out of the freighter business altogether is completely out of the question for a number of reasons, including the flexibility it gives. “It’s important in our relationship with major forwarders, we intend to be in all markets in all products which is why we believe of course the belly is very important, but you need to have freighters to be a serious player.”