August brought mixed results for International Airlines Group, the company born from the recent merger of British Airways and Iberia. With capacity up 2.3 percent from August 2010, IAG experienced a combined year-over-year cargo loss of 2 percent, a testament to the challenging economic conditions worldwide.
Overall load factor also decreased slightly in August, falling from 77.1 percent to 76.3 percent year-over-year.
BA’s cargo operations were hit the hardest, with tonnage plunging 2.8 percent year-over-year. Although Iberia contributed less to IAG’s airfreight operations, the Spanish flag carrier posted more modest decreases in August, with volumes only dropping 1 percent from 2010.
Offsetting these losses were particularly high passenger numbers out of the Latin America/Caribbean, Asia-Pacific and North America regions, growing a respective 9.8 percent, 6.2 percent and 5.5 percent. IAG also experienced increased traffic in its European networks, with passenger volumes up 1.4 percent from August 2010. Passenger traffic in the Africa, Middle East and South Asia region was down significantly, however, decreasing 9.6 percent year-over-year.
To spur growth in this sector, Iberia increased the number of times it flies to Malabo, Equatorial Guinea each week to six. It’s all part of IAG’s strategy to improve the trade and passenger links between Latin America and the rest of the world, IAG Managing Director Steve Gunning maintained.
IAG’s cargo business, in particular, has much to gain from the enhanced routes, Gunning said. “It’s clear that by improving [these] links, we now have the opportunity to provide customers with a truly global offering,” Gunning told Air Cargo World. “By linking [IAG] with other parts of the Brazil, Russia, India and China economies — notably India and China — we feel that the offering will be in strong demand.”
Despite posting moderate cargo losses in August, Gunning has high hopes for IAG’s airfreight operations. In fact, he asserted, 2012 promises to be even more fruitful for the newly merged company.
“From a cargo standpoint, 2012 will see IAG establish a strong combined commercial platform — continuing to make progress on integrating processes, systems and the overall customer proposition,” Gunning said. “We will finish combining our revenue management systems, put the finishing touches to the single sales force, and continue to drive cost synergies through the business.”