Air France has ordered four more Boeing 747-400 Freighters, taking the number in its fleet to 15. Freight is a major element of the SkyTeam global alliance, with Air France, Delta Air Lines and Korean Air having launched the SkyTeam Cargo alliance in September. Air France executive director general Pierre-Henri Gourgeon says the three are also negotiating with road freight specialist Kugenagel on the provision of onward point-to-point package delivery services.

Air France reported a strong financial performance for its first half to the end of September, with profits up 38% to €429 million despite rising fuel costs. Passenger sales grew 19% to €4.5 billion, and freight by 25% to €636 million, while passenger volume increased 10.3% against a 5.4% growth in capacity, producing a record 80.7% load factor.

Air France president Jean-Cyril Spinetta hints that a second half downturn is expected, however, suggesting a full year result roughly equal last year's - a result that could be achieved only if second half profits dip by €75 million. The carrier's share price dropped 7% on the warning.

Source: Flight International