Still at the top of the pile
|Germany's economy has kept relatively strong while so many of its Continental neighbours have faced a virtual financial meltdown. Its air cargo sector has stayed comparatively healthy too, thanks in large part to the impetus provided by the country's traditionally healthy manufacturing export trade.
Lufthansa Cargo, the freight division of the German flag-carrier, transported 864,490 tonnes of cargo and mail over the first six months of this year, representing a decline in volume of 9.2 percent compared to the same period of 2011.
Traffic as measured in revenue tonne-km (RTK) fell by 8.5 percent to 4.4 billion RTK for the half year.
Nonetheless, by reducing its available capacity by 7.6 percent to 6.4 billion available tonne-km, Lufthansa Cargo succeeded in keeping its load factor relatively steady - dipping by just 0.7 percentage points to 69.4 percent.
Karl Ulrich Garnadt, executive board chairman and CEO at Lufthansa Cargo, commented: "There can be no talk as yet of a real crisis. Extreme volatility has been a hallmark of our industry for some time now, and we know how we have to deal with it.
"Lufthansa Cargo temporarily suspends flights from its schedule or closes down routes permanently when they cease to be financially viable.
"This flexible, demand-driven management of our capacities is one of our strengths that we are also relying on now," Garnadt added.
In other news from the freight carrier, Lufthansa Cargo has said that it reduced its CO2 emissions by more than 700 tonnes in just May and June through the use of lightweight containers.
That period marked the first time in which more than half the LD3 standard ULDs (unit load devices) it used were made from lightweight composite materials.
These containers are kg lighter than the conventional model, Lufthansa pointed out, adding that it expects to bring approximately 5,000 lightweight containers into service in the coming years.
"Reducing weight on board our aircraft is a key factor in lowering the fleet's fuel consumption and emissions," explains Bettina Jansen, head of environmental management at Lufthansa Cargo.
"In the efforts to realise our ambitious environmental targets and reduce specific emissions by a quarter by 2020 on the 2005 level, we will continue investing modern technology and press ahead with renewal of our container fleet," she added.
The new freight acceptance area at the Lufthansa Cargo Center in Frankfurt is now open. During its trial phase, the facility's new ramps, optimised layout and additional service counters are said to have reduced transit times considerably.