From Alex Lennane
IAG Cargo’s plan of preparing a scheduled freight system of passenger-freighters while the vast majority of its aircraft had been grounded, has repaid.
It’s declared that commercial earnings grew 33.1%, in constant currency, to €369m ($437.6m) from 1 April to 31 June, together with returns up a staggering 224.7%, and marketed tonnes downward 51.2%.
IAG Cargo was fast to adapt to Covid and, like the virus rampaged across the world, establish a community of scheduled freight and charter flights.
One UK client said he was impressed with the community, but noticed that it had been significant for the airline to keep its freight clients.
“IAG Cargo has been keeping the cost quite high. But it’s reliable and direct, so I am happy to pay for it.”
Lynne Embleton, chief executive of IAG Cargo, said: “We quickly developed among the most extensive networks of scheduled cargo-only flights accessible; a community of over 340 scheduled flights weekly, assembled around our clients’ requirements and tailored to the most essential cargo flows.
“We have reconfigured aircraft to maximise cargo capacity, removing seats and using overhead lockers. These were important capacity solutions, albeit ones that brought additional operational complexity and cost.”
The company formed a charter group that, in the next quarter, organised 615 flights, of that 416 were to the UK, Irish and Spanish government.
Together with the second-quarter results today out to both US majors and IAG, not one of which function widebody freighters, it is now evident which carriers made a decision to put money into their freight networks and keep customers – and appreciate very substantial yields.
United also saw freight earnings increase, by 36.3% to $402m, functioning 3,800 cargo-only flights, though freight ton miles dropped 40% to 496.
United and IAG are in direct comparison to American Airlines and Delta Cargo. While American was aggressive in maintaining its national fleet flying, freight operating earnings dropped 41% to $130m, using freight ton miles down 72% to 176. Cargo returns per ton, however, more than doubled to $0.74. Delta barely mentioned freight in its own outcomes, but did acknowledge that its earnings fell 42% to $108m.
“The pandemic continues to greatly impact the air cargo industry and businesses at large,” stated Ms Embleton. “It has been a busy and challenging three months. We are pleased to be supporting our customers throughout this unpredictable and changeable operating environment”.
Air France KLM, meanwhile, that reported its second quarter results yesterday, saw its own unit earnings up 145.7% in comparison to a year before, in constant currency. The team saw capacity drop 56%.
Overall cargo earnings grew just 6% to €566m, whereas visitors in sales tonne kilometres was down 44%.