MIAMI — Air France-KLM is considering getting rid of its dedicated freighter planes, according to Bloomberg. The airlines are currently reviewing its options for its cargo business. By September, we should know the carriers decisions.
Air France-KLM has been struggling, but it is in amidst of a major turn around plan to restore the company to profitability. Although, the cargo business continues to lose money. Last year, the cargo part of the operation lost approximately 202 million euros ($281 million). Although, some are attributing the loss to a market slump.
Earlier this month, Air France-KLM said its passenger traffic was unchanged year-on-year in March, but its cargo business registered growth of 2.7%.
Through the company’s Martinair unit, there are 11 widebody aircraft in the Air KLM fleet that are solely dedicated to transporting cargo; five Boeing Co. 747-400s and six Boeing MD-11s.
Air France has four Boeing 747s and two Boeing 777s dedicated to cargo operations, but recently, the airline found buyers interested in two 747s. The airline also plans to return two 747s back to lessors.
Problems with the cargo side of the airline are not new. In 2006, Martinair purchased four Boeing 747-400s from Singapore Airlines for cargo operations. The aircraft converted three to replace the older 747-200s, and in 2009, three out of the four 747s were stored because the air cargo business was suffering. A year later, the airline leased two of the 747s to Air Cargo Germany. The remaining 747 returned into service in May 2011, but it was not painted as Martinair was not sure yet if the plane will remain operating for them.