A strong recovery in the 2017 global air cargo market and a focus on cost management helped Lufthansa Cargo’s sales rise by 21.1% last year over 2016 to €2.5bn, as average revenues, especially in express business, “went up considerably”.
Total operating income increased by 21.2% to €2.6bn. Adjusted EBIT in 2017 reversed a €50m loss in 2016 to reach €242m in 2017 during what the German flag carrier said was a “difficult” prior year. EBIT improved by €304m to €240m
Peter Gerber, chief executive and chairman of the executive board of Lufthansa cargo, said: "2017 developed into one of the most successful years in the history of Lufthansa cargo. Lufthansa cargo has achieved impressive earnings. In the volatile logistics business, our team demonstrated high professionalism and passionate commitment.
"For the current year, we will therefore remain focused on pursuing our efficiency programme and investing in our future. At present these are mainly investments in ground infrastructure highly profitable special business and in digitisation."
The result was achieved in “a challenging market environment” said Gerber. In addition to a strong focus on cost optimisation, high-performance products and flexible capacity management, Lufthansa cargo's sales strength also made “a significant contribution.”
The boss of Europe's leading cargo carrier added with a view to the coming years: "Airfreight is and will remain a growth market. For certain goods, airfreight is the only choice. Above all, export strong regions such as Germany are an excellent long-term basis every business"
Gerber confirmed that Lufthansa Cargo was looking at the possibility of adding further Boeing 777 freighters to the five it already owns, but these would most likely be direct replacements for the 12 relatively young MD-11Fs that it now operates and which need to be grounded by 2025 at the latest.
With each B777F equivalent to 1.6 MD-11Fs, that would required around seven replacement freighters. Lufthansa Cargo also has two B777Fs as part of its Aerologic joint venture with DHL.
In the years ahead, said Gerber, Lufthansa Cargo intends to digitise its relationships with all the players in the transport chain, from bookings to deliveries. “In the long run, customers will benefit from greater transparency, higher speeds, better quality and more flexibility as well as greater efficiency.”