Lufthansa Cargo, Europe's biggest air-cargo carrier, reported freight traffic in December fell more than 20 per cent from a year ago and revenue declined even more amid a deepening economic downturn.
The German carrier transported 114,000 metric tonnes of cargo, down 21.4 per cent from December, 2007, leaving traffic for the year six per cent lower at 1.696 million tonnes.
Lufthansa's closest rivals also reported sharp drop-offs in traffic. Air France-KLM saw volume fall 20.4 per cent and British Airways' shipments were weaker by 14.3 per cent.
Lufthansa trimmed capacity by 7.6 per cent in December but the slump in demand resulted in the load factor, or capacity utilisation, falling 11.1 percentage points to 59.9 per cent.
Cargo revenues fell 22.1 per cent from a year ago.
The decline in demand was aggravated by extended vacations and plant closures in Germany, particularly in the car industry, a major exporter.
Total cargo, including subsidiary Swiss Cargo, fell 20.1 per cent to 131,000 tonnes, while revenues were off 19.8 per cent and the load factor was down 9.8 points at 57.1 per cent.
Full year traffic was 0.4 per cent higher at 1.918 million tonnes.
Americas traffic fell 19.2 per cent to 37,000 tonnes and Asia-Pacific volume was down 23.7 per cent to 34,000 tonnes.
Lufthansa cut its 2009 cargo capacity by around 10 per cent effective January 1. It scaled back its co-operation with US-based World Airways, which operated two MD-11 freighters and a Boeing 747-400 freighter, and transferred the routes to its Chinese joint venture carrier Jade Cargo International.