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Air Export/Import Coordinator MC Trinter
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Cargo Airlines In Europe | WebCargo

Cargo Airlines in Europe for Booking Air Cargo

Air cargo is a vital force in Europe’s economy, powering trade networks and global competitiveness. Its speed and efficiency are unmatched, crucial for swiftly transporting goods, especially perishables and pharmaceuticals. Europe’s extensive network of airports and cargo hubs serves as crucial links, connecting businesses to global markets and offering resilience during disruptions.

In terms of cargo airlines, Europe hosts a diverse range, from industry giants like Lufthansa Cargo to agile startups like CargoLogicAir in the UK. They serve various industries, delivering goods with precision and efficiency across the continent and beyond.

In this post, you’ll discover insights on: 

  • European Air Cargo Pricing Trends
  • The List of Top Air Cargo Airlines with EU Origin
  • Top Air Cargo Routes in Europe
  • Tracing the Air Cargo Market’s Evolution in 2022
  • The Top Air Cargo Routes in Europe
  • Booking Air Cargo with European Airlines with WebCargo
  • The European Cargo Airlines Available for Booking on WebCargo
  • How Best to Compare Air Cargo Rates For European Airlines

European Air Cargo Pricing Trends

BUT, the European air cargo market, like the rest of the supply chain, is no stranger to sudden twists and turns caused by geopolitics, bad weather, strikes, economic shifts, and more. These factors can send capacity and rates skyrocketing or plummeting unexpectedly. This volatile reality is poignantly illustrated with data from the FAX (Freightos Air Index – the most comprehensive and reliable index of air cargo market pricing).

The air cargo rate volatility becomes immediately apparent and can be broken down into two main categories:

  1. Significant Increases: There are times when rates go up considerably, with rates shooting up by as much as 40% compared to the baseline.
  2. Sharp Drops: There are also periods where rates drop noticeably, with rates sometimes dropping by roughly 20% relative to the baseline.

Historically, forwarders and clients had to navigate such ups and downs with only limited access to real-time market data, hindered by delayed reporting and a lack of transparency. This is why forwarders have now embraced third-party air cargo booking platforms for transparent, fast, and reliable eBooking. 

Third-party platforms such as WebCargo provide bookable rates for actual capacity on individual flights, alongside market intelligence in order to mitigate rate fluctuations. By leveraging data for instant insights into present and future market dynamics, forwarders can navigate cost fluctuations as rates soar, enhance margins as they dip, and offer clients superior guidance, all in real-time.

List of Top Air Cargo Airlines with EU Origin

According to the 2021 World Air Transport Statistics (WATS), the top 10 largest EU-based European airlines include:

Lufthansa Cargo is a powerhouse in the air cargo industry, dominating key routes worldwide. From Frankfurt to Shanghai, they move everything from electronics to pharmaceuticals with precision and speed. With a capacity of over a million tons annually, they’re a top choice for high-value, time-sensitive shipments. Expertise in handling temperature-sensitive cargo, top-notch facilities, and a commitment to sustainability are a striking feature that sets them apart. 

  • Air France KLM Martinair Cargo

Air France KLM Martinair Cargo is a force to be reckoned with in the air cargo realm, spanning the globe with their extensive network. From Paris to Johannesburg, they transport a wide array of goods, from fashion to automotive parts, with efficiency and flair. Handling millions of tons annually, they’re a go-to for swift and reliable shipments, with a specialty in transporting delicate and high-value cargo. 

IAG Cargo commands the skies with its extensive global network, linking major hubs from London to Madrid with seamless efficiency. They whisk a myriad of goods, from fashion to pharmaceuticals, across continents with unparalleled reliability. Handling millions of tons each year, they’re a trusted partner for swift and secure deliveries. Their specialization in temperature-sensitive cargo, bolstered by cutting-edge technology and a steadfast commitment to sustainability allows them to deliver excellence with every shipment.

Finnair Cargo is a dynamic force in the air cargo landscape, weaving a tight network from Helsinki to Tokyo and beyond. They whisk a diverse range of cargo, from fresh seafood to high-tech electronics, with Nordic precision and speed. Handling substantial volumes annually, they’re a top choice for efficient and seamless shipments, particularly perishables and pharmaceuticals.

A rising star in the air cargo scene, TAP Air Cargo connects Lisbon to key destinations across Europe, the Americas, and Africa. They whisk a variety of goods, from textiles to automotive parts, with Portuguese flair and efficiency. Handling significant volumes annually, they’re a trusted choice for timely and secure deliveries, with specialization in handling perishables and live animals. 

Virgin Atlantic Airways Cargo is a dynamic player in the air cargo arena, linking major hubs from London to New York and beyond with flair and precision. They transport a diverse range of cargo, from fashion to pharmaceuticals, with British charm and efficiency. Handling substantial volumes annually, they’re a top choice for time-sensitive shipments, particularly for high-value and temperature-sensitive goods.

ITA Airways Cargo connects Italy to the world with its extensive network. From Rome to Milan, they transport a wide array of goods, from fashion to automotive parts, with Italian finesse and efficiency. Handling substantial volumes annually, they’re a preferred choice for reliable and secure shipments – mainly perishables and luxury goods. 


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Top Air Cargo Routes in Europe

Here’s a handy breakdown of the top five air cargo routes in Europe:

London, England (LHR) to New York, United States (JFK) Airport:

  • Goods Moved: Various, including Electronics, Pharmaceuticals, Industrial Equipment
  • Popularity: Very High, due to its global reach and significance in international commerce.
  • Importance: Major artery of international trade, showcasing Europe’s pivotal role in the global supply chain.


Frankfurt, Germany (FRA) to Paris, France (CDG):

  • Goods Moved: Electronics, Pharmaceuticals, Automotive Parts
  • Popularity: High, as it connects two economic powerhouses in Europe.
  • Importance: Acts as a crucial bridge for seamless transfer of goods between major economic centers.


Amsterdam, Netherlands (AMS) to Madrid, Spain (MAD):

  • Goods Moved: Electronics, Pharmaceuticals, Perishable Goods
  • Popularity: Moderate to High, serving as strategic conduits between Northern and Southern Europe.
  • Importance: Knits together economies of different regions, facilitating trade and commerce.


Paris, France (CDG) to Amsterdam, Netherlands (AMS):

  • Goods Moved: Electronics, Pharmaceuticals, Perishable Goods
  • Popularity: Moderate, facilitating trade between major European hubs.
  • Importance: Enhances connectivity and trade efficiency within Europe.


Madrid, Spain (MAD) to Frankfurt, Germany (FRA):

  • Goods Moved: Automotive Parts, Industrial Equipment, Perishable Goods
  • Popularity: Moderate, contributing to the movement of goods within Europe.
  • Importance: Supports trade and manufacturing activities, particularly in automotive and industrial sectors.

From Highs to Lows: Unpacking European Air Cargo Trends

Now, let’s delve deeper into the data trends shaping the landscape of these European cargo airlines and others. Diving into growth metrics such growth in air cargo demand, airline margins, and EU shipping stats will let you navigate market volatility and manage cost fluctuations as rates soar, enhance margins as they dip, and offer your clients superior guidance with this bird-eye overview.

  • Air Cargo Demand Softened

Following a strong performance in 2021, air cargo demand declined by 8.0% in 2022 due to various challenges. Record-high inflation and the ongoing war in Ukraine disrupted trade flows, while the strength of the US dollar inflated commodity costs. Industry cargo tonne kilometers (CTKs) in 2022 closely mirrored 2019 levels, contracting by 1.6% compared to pre-pandemic levels. North America and Africa were the only regions with CTKs above 2019 levels, while airlines in Latin America rebounded from restructuring processes in 2021, nearing pre-pandemic cargo traffic levels. 

  • Global Trade Growth Outperformed Air Cargo Demand 

Global goods trade grew steadily from January to October 2022, albeit at a slower rate than in 2021. However, air cargo CTKs contracted for twelve consecutive months starting in March 2022, indicating that maritime transportation benefited more from the growth in global trade. With softer demand for goods compared to the previous year, businesses faced reduced inventory pressure, diminishing the urgency to use air transportation for swift stock replenishment.

  • Declining Cargo Load Factors Put Downward Pressure on Cargo Yields

Increased capacity and decreased demand led to cargo load factors reverting to pre-COVID levels. This surge in air cargo capacity primarily resulted from the restoration of belly capacity from passenger aircraft since May 2021, contrasting with the declining capacity of dedicated freighters since December 2021. Despite reaching all-time highs in December 2021, air cargo yields began to decline throughout most of 2022, although they remain higher than pre-COVID levels. 

The take-away? Whether it’s decreasing air cargo demand or downward pressure on cargo yields due to declining load factors, the consistent market fluctuations underscore the need for adaptability and strategic planning within the industry to navigate the evolving market conditions effectively. 

Tracing the Air Cargo Market’s Evolution

2021-2022: Airlines Navigate Financial Rebound

In 2022, the airline industry witnessed a remarkable global financial turnaround, with North American carriers leading the profit margins. Despite North American airlines being the sole region to achieve a net profit, European and Middle Eastern airlines closely trailed behind. This positive shift follows a notable improvement from the industry’s staggering $140 billion net loss in 2020, which decreased to approximately $40 billion in 2021 and further diminished to an estimated $7 billion in 2022.

IATA, Annual Review, 2023, pg. 19

Amidst this recovery, the industry’s return on invested capital (ROIC) showed steady improvement, rebounding from the initial decline at the onset of the pandemic. Concurrently, aircraft deliveries surged, reaching 1,270 by the end of 2022, signaling renewed confidence and resilience within the airline sector.

2021-2022: Grounded Goods: The EU Air Freight Slump 

Air freight and mail transport in the EU experienced a notable decline of -7.9% between 2021 and 2022. This downturn signals a significant setback in the movement of goods and correspondence across the region. Despite the substantial recovery observed in passenger traffic following the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the freight segment faces challenges, likely influenced by factors such as economic fluctuations and shifting trade patterns.

While intra-EU passenger transport nearly matched extra-EU traffic in 2022, indicating a robust rebound in travel within the EU, the decline in air freight and mail transport underscores the uneven recovery across different segments of the air transport industry. This decrease raises concerns about the resilience of supply chains and the ability of businesses to efficiently transport goods across borders, and highlights the need for targeted measures to implement effective strategies to enhance the efficiency and competitiveness of air freight and mail transport.

Book Air Cargo with European Airlines with WebCargo

The future of freight is online…and it’s already here. Digital air cargo booking with airlines is a massive shift in how airlines sell services and how forwarders book them. But why is eBooking taking the industry by storm, and what does it actually mean for forwarders? 

For forwarders, every second counts, and with WebCargo’s eBooking, they’re more empowered than ever before. eBooking with WebCargo is a digital solution that provides forwarders with a fast, easy (and free!) way to find, compare, book and pay for real-time rates and capacity. But how much of a difference does this really make? 

Well, if forwarders typically only win around 20% of their RFPs, the time it takes them to quote is a serious cost. Freightos research has shown that forwarders using WebCargo for pricing, quoting, booking and payment have seen up to a 5% increase in their win rates thanks to the instant rate lookup and comparison.

But which airlines does WebCargo partner with? Glad you asked. It’s 50+ leading airlines, representing over 50% of global air capacity digitized with WebCargo. But who’s counting? 

European Cargo Airlines Available for Booking on WebCargo

Not only does eBooking enable instant access to accurate airline pricing and routing information, but when booking through WebCargo, forwarders gain access to a number of other free, mission-critical value-driving features, including: 

  1. Effortless comparison of prices, transit times, and multi-leg shipments across various airlines.
  2. Access to renowned carriers like Emirates SkyCargo, American Airlines, and more.
  3. Advanced functionalities such as dynamic quoting and eAWB generation.
  4. Streamlined search history for faster repeat searches.
  5. CO2 visibility and offsetting.
  6. Integration with WebCargo’s rate management and quoting platform.

This comprehensive solution boosts carriers’ efficiency and forwarders’ competitiveness by improving pricing, reliability, speed, and quote volume. In fact, Freightos research suggests that adopting such digital tools can reduce underlying freight costs by 3-8%.

Comparing Air Cargo Rates For European Airlines

Navigating the intricacies of air cargo rates for European airlines is like solving a puzzle with hundreds of pieces, each one affecting the next. 

Picture this: fuel prices serve as the cornerstone, their fluctuations impacting the overall cost structure. Meanwhile, the demand for cargo space plays its part, surging during peak periods. Competition adds another layer, compelling airlines to strike a balance between competitiveness and profitability. Regulatory requirements and taxes further complicate the landscape, as airlines maneuver to comply without compromising their bottom line. 

…and amidst it all, the nature of the cargo itself – its size, weight, and urgency – influences the final pricing composition. It’s a complex ecosystem where every factor contributes to the delicate equilibrium of air cargo rates. So how do you find the best rate, having taken all these factors into account?

That’s easy. 

Leverage WebCargo’s air cargo pricing, booking, and payment based on live, available capacity across airlines that fly over 50% of global cargo capacity, securing your shipment in just seconds.