In 1910, a cargo flight was made for the first time in the world. From now on, air travel has played a key role in the delivery of valuable products and perishable goods.
Air transport is very important in order to deliver goods over long distances in the shortest possible time. Air Freight is a reseller that contributes to global economic development and creates millions of jobs.
The global economy depends on the ability to transport products at competitive prices to consumers around the world. Therefore, air travel is quite rightly considered the main “connection” between producers and consumers.
Air travel allows countries to connect to the global marketplace, supporting globalization. Air transport fosters collaboration and networking between companies from different parts of the world.
Countries and international companies can specialize in activities where they have a comparative advantage. Companies have the opportunity to leverage economies of scale that drive down costs. Many sectors of the economy use air travel to reduce delivery times.
Also, air cargo is useful for the development of tourism in remote destinations and islands. And tourism, in turn, has a positive effect on the employment process at airports and airlines.
The digitization of the supply chain for air carriers has significant benefits by increasing the visibility of the transport of products. This helps make the supply chain more flexible.
Artificial intelligence is becoming more reliable and provides carriers with greater agility and responsiveness to market conditions. If air carriers strive to remain as competitive in the market as possible, digitization is essential.
Detailed analysis of the data obtained will help to improve the efficiency and cost savings of air travel. Through digitization, air carriers can understand their costs associated with a particular shipment. This will allow you to provide more accurate offers and services at a realistic price.
Tracking the movement of goods in the air helps to ensure the safety and correct delivery of goods. Digital automation helps to reduce errors and avoid delays in the air delivery chain.
The problems of the global supply chain are very relevant in the modern world. In the midst of a pandemic, air travel is playing a key role in the delivery of urgently needed medical equipment and vaccines, according to IATA. Thanks to successful supply chain solutions, vaccines can be transported to their destination on time for maximum efficiency.
Here, an important role was played by the use of the carrying capacity of passenger aircraft.
Speaking at the 14th World Cargo Symposium (WCS) in Dublin, IATA global head of cargo operations and e-commerce Brendan Sullivan said: “Air freight is a critical industry. This pandemic reminded us of this. In a crisis, air travel is a lifeline for society. They are the ones who deliver critical medical supplies and vaccines around the world and support international supply chains. And for many airlines, freight became an important source of income when passenger flights were stopped. ”
IATA CEO Willie Walsh believes that many airlines now rely on freight revenues to stay in the market.
Global trade is projected to grow 9.5% this year and 5.6% in 2022. E-commerce continues to grow at a rapid pace. There is also a growing demand for high-value, temperature-sensitive specialty shipments, medical supplies and vaccines.
It is predicted that in 2021 the demand for air cargo will exceed the pre-crisis level (2019) by 8%, and in 2022 – by 13%. Therefore, air travel has strong short and long term prospects.
But we must not forget about the problems. The restrictions of the pandemic have led to severe congestion in the global supply chain. The current realities have created difficulties for crews crossing international borders. Resources, capacity and logistics will continue to be a problem.
Despite this, with the ongoing global fight against the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, air transport will continue to play an important role in ensuring the smooth operation of global supply chains.
The US will remove travel restrictions for many fully vaccinated passengers in a move that could see cargo capacity increase as a result of more bellyhold operations returning to the market.
The country announced today that it will re-open its borders to fully vaccinated travellers from 33 countries on November 8 if they have a negative Covid test in the 72 hours before travelling.
Included in the countries that will be able to enter the US are: the 26 so-called Schengen countries in Europe, including France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Switzerland and Greece, as well as the UK, Ireland, China, India, South Africa, Iran and Brazil.
Travellers will not need to quarantine on entering the US, but the vaccination must be US Food and Drug Administration approved or have been granted an Emergency Use Listing from the World Health Organization (WHO).
CLIVE Data Services managing director Niall van de Wouw recently said that the transatlantic is the “number one market” where rates are likely to come down as a result of additional flights.
However, he said the change might not be instant and prices could actually increase in the short term.
“In that early phase, it will actually have a downward impact on cargo capacity because we have the same amount of flights but more bags and therefore less cargo capacity.
“So initially, it could actually increase the shortage in supply in certain markets but over time [it will increase supply and result in lower rates].”
IATA director general Willie Walsh said that passengers were already flying out of the US, so some flights do operate on the trade lane.
“We are delighted that the US has announced its intention to re-open. There is a lot of transatlantic flying going on at the moment because of the fact that US citizens can travel and with the transportation of air cargo.
Meanwhile, the head of cargo at one major transatlantic airline said the pre-bookings for flights into the US were “amazing” suggesting the opening of US borders could have a quick affect.
Source: Air Cargo News
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) claims a consistent increase in air travel compared to the 2019 and 2020 cargo trends impacted by COVID-19. IATA CEO Willie Walsh said: “Economic conditions indicate that strong upward trend will continue to peak demand at the end of the year.” But we must not forget that the COVID-19 delta strain can bring certain risks to the industry.
North American carriers are the strongest of all regions. European carriers have increased demand. Manufacturing activities, orders and delivery times of suppliers are favorable for air transportation. Also, Middle Eastern carriers noted an increase in the volume of international cargo. But Latin America continues to show weak regional performance.
The COVID-19 crisis is known to be a major shock to the global economy. Since air cargo plays a critical role in global trade, disruption to supply chains has created many problems in a balanced system. Taking into account all personal protective equipment, e-commerce and products transported by air, the demand for air freight has reached an all-time high. But this is connected with the urgent problem of capacity limitation and high rates. Maulin Vakil, Managing Director of Customer Service and Performance at American Airlines Cargo, said that during 2021, “capacity is growing, but not as fast as we originally expected as passenger returns have been somewhat slower.”
To create capacity, some carriers continue to upgrade the upper fuselage space on passenger aircraft to carry cargo. One example is Emirates SkyCargo. It is one of the first air carriers in the world to make up for the shortfall by introducing cargo-only flights on its passenger aircraft. This included loading cargo onto passenger aircraft seats and overhead bays. In general, such a strategy can help deal with the capacity crisis, but aviation experts see this only as a temporary solution.
Carriers are also leveraging digital adoption to improve air travel tracking and supply chain visibility through artificial intelligence, analytics, cloud computing. For example, in April, Cathay Pacific Cargo conducted its third pilot project under the IATA ONE Record initiative. The program is based on the paperless operations of the electronic air waybill.
Air freight plays a key role in the distribution of vaccines through well-established temperature-sensitive distribution systems using state-of-the-art technology and procedures. This capability will prove critical to the rapid and efficient transport of COVID-19 vaccines.
E-commerce continues to expand very actively, with a lot of space in cargo holds. Therefore, companies use all possible methods to expand capacity. For example, Atlas Air has contracted DHL Express, which will continue to operate 20 cargo aircraft to support the fast-growing e-commerce markets.
A large share of air transportation in imports to the countries of the European Union includes valuable goods (fur, diamonds), cut flowers and flower buds, chemical elements and compounds, materials for use in electronics, machines for pressing, drawing, cutting textile materials. In exports outside the European Union, large quantities are observed in air transportation of books, chemical elements and compounds, electron microscopes, diffraction devices, and lasers.
Air freight remains crucial for Europe. Therefore, the European Commission published guidelines on the support of air cargo transportation last year. European Union members are encouraged to promote the use of passenger aircraft for cargo operations and to temporarily abolish or flexibly apply night curfews at airports for basic air cargo operations. The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has expanded the rules to allow airlines to use passenger aircraft as temporary cargo aircraft until next year.
Today, automation and digitalization are being implemented in almost all areas of human activity. Logistics is no exception.
The past year has shown how vulnerable global logistics is, and how everything in it is tied to a person: during a pandemic, the need to minimize the coexistence of people to a minimum paralyzed the industry: there was no opportunity to carry out loading and unloading, borders were closed.
The second factor that has become key on the path to digitalization of logistics has become the very “human factor”, which is so much talked about, and which digitalization is designed to eliminate. We are talking about the recent disaster in the Suez Canal. It has been proven that a banal operator error led to the blocking of Evergiven by the court. As a result, the “traffic jam” in Suez resulted in billions of dollars in losses. At the same time, if the navigation of the vessel was carried out by automation, with a high degree of probability Evergiven would calmly pass the channel, and its name would remain unknown to the world community.
These are just a couple of examples where a lack of automation has affected global logistics in general. And, of course, digitalization can radically change the work of each logistics company separately.
Modern automation tools and the capabilities of computer systems are amazing. They are also actively developing in logistics. And the prospects for using digital solutions can already be identified:
Digital solutions for organizing personnel accounting and control are today used even in the smallest firms, and within large enterprises, for example, the same seaports, it is needed like air. Control of working time, accounting of work performed – all this can be done automatically.
If last year became a test year for logistics managers and showed that it is possible to successfully perform their functions not only in the office, but also from home, then automation for remote control of logistics processes for port workers is still a novelty. At the same time, digitalization helps to reduce the burden on staff, provide them with a more comfortable and safer working environment and increase productivity.
This is perhaps the only area where automation has been used for a long time. And with the development of technologies on guard of warehouse accounting and control, accounting has become even more accurate.
Such solutions are convenient both for the company itself and for its customers, who can track the movement of their goods online.
It is also much more efficient to implement with the help of digital solutions. At first, online freight exchanges set the tone for this direction, today the trend is gaining momentum and shifting towards special applications that will allow interaction with the counterparty remotely and in digital mode.
The implementation of digital products and solutions in logistics has a lot of advantages:
If a couple of operators and digital equipment that is programmed and controlled remotely can handle the loading of containers in the port, you will not have to pay a salary to a large staff of loaders and stevedores.
Innovation, including the introduction of green energy, reducing air pollution by using electronics instead of gasoline engines – all this benefits the planet as a whole and plays an asset in your reputation as a responsible and modern representative of the logistics market.
Automated processes are always much more accurate and faster than human work. And this is also worth considering. For example, last year’s collapses in world ports showed how critical delays in the implementation of logistics tasks are. And automation will help solve them.
If on a global scale this advantage is not one of the most important, for the Ukrainian reality it is a fact: if the processes are carried out automatically, according to clearly defined algorithms, there will be less corruption schemes in logistics and its relationship with government agencies.
Everyone who is engaged in logistics has at least once faced an emergency: lack of transport, delays on the way, personnel errors – all this can start a chain, the result of which will be untimely or poor-quality provision of logistics services. By using digital solutions, such risks are minimized. Of course, any automation can fail, but according to statistics, failures of automatic processes occur much less often than human errors.
As you can see, digitalization is an inevitable process, which, moreover, brings a number of significant benefits for logistics companies.
In fiction, a plot where production or infrastructure is completely controlled by machine intelligence is not uncommon. In practice, we can say that humanity is unlikely to come to such drastic measures in the near future.
Yes, there are excellent successful port digitalization cases – for example, automatic loading and unloading of containers in the ports of Rotterdam, Qingdao or Long Beach.
But despite all the scale and incredible capabilities, in the end, control over the implementation of port operations rests with a person. It is in this connection – the execution of processes by automatic devices under human control – that digitalization can achieve maximum efficiency in logistics.
We have already mentioned the successful practice of automating the loading and unloading of containers in ports using automated cranes controlled by an operator behind a computer monitor, rather than from a cockpit.
But there are several more technologies that are already being implemented or will be introduced into logistics in the coming years for its digitalization:
If all major devices, from cranes or forklifts, to the computers of operators and warehouse workers, are part of the “Internet of things”, that is, they are networked, have remote control and programming capabilities, then the implementation of the supply chain will be much more efficient.
Example: DHL case. The carrier improved its operational efficiency by 87% simply by using an application for scheduling employees that applies the principles of the “Internet of Things”.
While it looks fantastic, the use of drones, automated forklifts and, in the future, self-driving cars for logistics purposes will help simplify all the processes.
Not only port complexes can use automatic cranes. Robots can help with warehouse work, moving goods along short routes.
And these are just the obvious technologies that digitalization in logistics is already using. In general, modern high technologies can be used at deeper levels – for analytics, forecasting, management.
How will they be used in Ukrainian logistics? The answer to this question depends only on you and me.
Victor Berestenko, President of the Association of International Freight Forwarders of Ukraine, specially for CTS
For International Airport Review, Dorothea von Boxberg, Chief Executive Officer and Chairperson of Lufthansa Cargo, and Thorsten Meincke, Board Member for Air and Ocean Freight at DB Schenker, discuss the collaboration between the two companies that resulted in commercial aviation’s first carbon neutral freight flight, as well as what the future holds for the partnership and how Sustainable Aviation Fuel can support aviation in achieving its ambitious emission reduction targets.
In November 2020, Lufthansa Cargo and DB Schenker operated commercial aviation’s first carbon neutral freight flight. How did this collaboration come into existence and what were the results of the flight?
Thorsten Meincke (TM): Sometimes, everything falls into place. In summer 2020, Lufthansa Cargo awarded DB Schenker the Lufthansa Cargo Excellence Award to recognise the great collaboration between the two companies.
Following this recognition, Lufthansa Cargo engaged us to collaborate on groundbreaking research around Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF). This was an obvious ‘yes’ at our side, and we wanted to bring this offering to our customers immediately. After only four months, the historic first SAF flight was launched!
In 2021, Lufthansa Cargo honoured us with the ‘Excellence Award’ for the second time in a row. We thank Lufthansa Cargo for the repeated recognition and the excellent cooperation.
Personally, it was an exciting moment to see the DB Schenker logo appearing on the aircraft. Since May 2021, this has become a reality for everyone to see as we drive awareness of our sustainability partnership worldwide.
Even in the worst crisis that has ever hit aviation, we were doing the right thing, confidently taking vital steps into a greener future.
This product creates extra value for industries with a customer base that are willing to invest in carbon neutral supply chains. These are, among others, consumer electronics, the pharmaceutical industry and luxury retail brands.
Despite some doubts in the very beginning, the result is more than satisfying.
TM: Truthfully, in the beginning, the conversation wasn’t easy at all. As one could imagine, there had to be tough decisions made regarding the pricing of the flight. And yes, it is true, clean logistics comes with a surcharge. That’s why not every customer is willing to pay more for SAF.
It is very important to us to introduce a truly 100 per cent carbon neutral flight, and not only to offer a pay-per-use option. We had thus decided that, if there aren’t enough customers for our climate-friendly offer, DB Schenker will make the financial commitment to pay the difference. This is a testament to the dedication of our duty to strive towards a sustainable future.
Dorothea von Boxberg (DvB): The general term for sustainable, synthetic kerosene is ‘Sustainable Aviation Fuel’ (SAF). SAF is the first real alternative to fossil aviation fuel. It is the key to climate neutral air traffic and can be fed into regular flight operations without infrastructure adjustments.
By replacing fossil kerosene with Sustainable Aviation Fuel, we take CO2 from the atmosphere, reducing CO2 emissions from the outset. With the sustainable freight flight connection, DB Schenker and Lufthansa Cargo are reiterating their call to other companies in the logistics industry, as well as politicians, to jointly expand production and infrastructure for Sustainable Aviation Fuel and thus drive forward decarbonisation in logistics.
T.M.: I want to take this opportunity to emphasise how unique our weekly flights are. For the very first time in aviation history, carbon neutral supply chains are feasible with air freight. This is one of the cleanest available air cargo transport products between China and Europe, with a weekly volume of SAF, which corresponds to 174 metric tonnes of kerosene. We are delighted that so many of our customers support our vision of green flights. To mention a few, Mercedes-Benz, ZF and Merck are among some of the first customers.
At the same time, we are aware that SAF is about three to six times more expensive than fossil kerosene, and the quantity available on the market is limited. That’s why we’d like to reiterate our call to other companies in the logistics industry and politicians to strengthen their decarbonisation agenda and join us in expanding production and infrastructure for SAF in logistics.
In all of our best interests, the demand continues to develop in the positive way that it has, and we will continue to promote our green offering as a signal that the industry is ready to take this step. We need the industry and politicians’ support to take charge and create more capacity or demand for regenerative fuels and clean aviation.
When everything goes as we expect, we are happy to discuss an expanded range of CO2 neutral cargo flight connections. Naturally, one thing goes without saying: in the end, the decision is made by our customers.
DvB: The usage of SAF leads to the avoidance of new fossil CO2 emissions in our supply chain. As Sustainable Aviation Fuel is today mainly produced from biomass waste – for example, from used vegetable and cooking oils – the CO2 released during the combustion in the engine was previously removed from the atmosphere during the growth of the plants.
The CO2 balance is thus considered almost neutral – a closed CO2 cycle remains. During Lufthansa Cargo’s summer flight schedule, about 16,200 tonnes of CO2 emissions are avoided due to the usage of SAF during the weekly DB Schenker flights between Asia and Europe.
DvB: Due to lower availability and more complex production, SAF is currently about three to six times more expensive than regular kerosene. Since SAF is the first real alternative to fossil aviation fuel and the key to climate-neutral air traffic, further research and provision of the fuel is essential.
We assume that the demand for SAF will increase in the future. We are therefore in close contact with suppliers and the government in order to expand the existing infrastructure of production facilities. We see the future in the so-called “power to liquid” technology, where sustainable energy and CO2 build the basis for kerosene.
DvB: To operate our cargo business carbon neutrally is our objective in the long run. We are convinced that Sustainable Aviation Fuel is essential to achieving this goal. Compared to fossil fuels, SAF today reduces CO2 emissions by up to 80 per cent.
The Lufthansa Group is therefore involved in various research institutions and industry associations and is in constant exchange about further developments in the field of Sustainable Aviation Fuel. We are also currently working on offering other customers the option of transporting their cargo in a CO2 neutral way in the future.
DvB: The biggest levers you have as an airline are to reduce kerosene and to replace kerosene with alternative fuels. Investment in modern aircraft fleets is decisive to reduce kerosene.
By the end of 2021, we will have a pure B777 fleet. That is the most fuel-efficient cargo fleet you can have with the best environmental balance.
We also have a long history of working on ways to reduce fuel in operations, e.g. with landing approach procedures that reduce fuel burn. For an airline, weight reduction is also key to reducing CO2 emissions. That is why, since 2020, we have only been using lightweight containers.
In order to reduce the carbon footprint of the fleet even further, we will also equip all B777Fs with the new Sharkskin technology from 2022. The surface coating, which resembles the structure of sharkskin, reduces the frictional resistance of our freighters in the air and thus reduces fuel consumption. In the Lufthansa Cargo fleet, this will enable annual savings of around 3,700 tonnes of kerosene and almost 11,700 tonnes of CO2 emissions.
TM: We are committed to becoming the leading green logistics provider within the industry. Sustainability is our declared strategic goal and top priority. Or, in other words: Within Schenker, sustainability is no longer a question of choice, but it is, beyond doubt, a necessity.
For decades, we have been facing a continuously increasing demand for transportation services. Despite this growth, our CO2 footprint per transported unit becomes smaller and smaller, and we continue to have climate neutral growth since 2006.
To give you some examples of how we operate sustainably: Schenker offers Eco Solutions, allowing customers to reduce or compensate for CO2 emissions along the entire supply chain. This is possible by utilising an optimised combination of vehicles and routing, so we can cut CO2 emissions in all modes of transport by 50 per cent and more per transport. We have extended our e-vehicle fleet in land transportation, and our eCanter fleet is now the world’s biggest.
In terms of sustainable cities, we utilise electric cargo bikes for last-mile city logistics in a growing number of European cities. Scandinavia is a real role model, as well as France, which is doing just as well.
The concept of Sustainable Cities is now rolled out globally, with integrated social and environmental measures of sustainable transport and logistics. Furthermore, we operate with green warehouses worldwide, including the company’s first entirely solar-powered facility in Dubai.
So, we do an awful lot – but, at the same time, there is still a long way to go until we reach climate neutrality.
Located on the Northwest Side of Chicago, Illinois, O’Hare International Airport is one of the busiest airports in the world and one of the most significant transportation hubs in the U.S.
Total aircraft movements: 919,704
Compared to 2018: 1.8 per cent decrease
Acting as the primary international airport serving Atlanta, Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport is the busiest airport in the world by passenger number and second busiest by aircraft movements.
Total aircraft movements: 904,301
Compared to 2018: 1.0 per cent decrease
Located across two counties due to its size, Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport is the largest hub for American Airlines and tenth busiest airport by passenger number.
Total aircraft movements: 720,007
Compared to 2018: 7.9 per cent increase
Located along the West Coast of the U.S., Los Angeles International Airport is a gateway to multiple international destinations, particularly Asia and the Pacific.
Total aircraft movements: 691,257
Compared to 2018: 2.3 per cent decrease
Generating over $26 billion for the region of Colorado each year, Denver International Airport is the fifth-busiest airport in the U.S., the world’s largest aviation market.
Total aircraft movements: 631,955
Compared to 2018: 6.1 per cent increase
Built to resemble a dragon, Beijing Capital International Airport is the primary international airport serving Beijing and is home to the second largest passenger terminal in the world.
Total aircraft movements: 594,329
Compared to 2018: 3.2 per cent decrease
Charlotte Douglas International Airport is a civil-military airport located in North Carolina and is financially operated on a fully self-sustaining basis.
Total aircraft movements: 578,263
Compared to 2018: 5.1 per cent increase
Located in Paradise, Nevada, McCarran International Airport is the main airport for public and military use in the Las Vegas Valley.
Total aircraft movements: 552,962
Compared to 2018: 2.4 per cent increase
Acting as the main international airport for the Netherlands, Amsterdam Airport Schiphol is Europe’s best-connected cargo handling airport, with the most direct air destinations.
Total aircraft movements: 515,811
Compared to 2018: 0.4 per cent decrease
Located in the fifth largest city in Germany and operated by Fraport, Frankfurt Airport acts as a hub for multiple German and European cargo companies.
Total aircraft movements: 513,912
Compared to 2018: 0.4 per cent increase
One of two international airports in the region, Shanghai Pudong International Airport is a major hub in the Chinese aviation industry, serving predominantly international flights.
Total aircraft movements: 511,846
Compared to 2018: 1.4 per cent increase
The primary airport serving Guangzhou, capital of Guangdong province in China, Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport is China’s largest transportation hub.
Total aircraft movements: 491,249
Compared to 2018: 2.9 per cent increase
Named after a former French president, Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport is the largest international airport in France and also referred to as Roissy Airport.
Total aircraft movements: 482,676
Compared to 2018: 1.1 per cent decrease
Part of the three-airport Houston Airport System, George Bush Intercontinental Airport serves as the premier long-haul international airport facility within the region.
Total aircraft movements: 478,070
Compared to 2018: 2.4 per cent increase
One of six airports located in London, the largest aviation hub in the world, London Heathrow Airport is the UK’s largest airport – welcoming over 80 million passengers in 2019.
Total aircraft movements: 478,002
Compared to 2018: 0.1 per cent increase
Indira Gandhi International Airport serves as the major international aviation hub of the capital city of New Delhi, as well as India as a whole.
Total aircraft movements: 466,452
Compared to 2018: 0.3 per cent decrease
Mexico City International Airport, officially known as Aeropuerto Internacional Benito Juárez, is the busiest airport in Mexico and Latin America by passenger number and aircraft movements.
Total aircraft movements: 459,987
Compared to 2018: 0.3 per cent increase
San Francisco International Airport is an enterprise department of the City and County of San Francisco and acts as a major U.S. gateway to Europe and Asia.
Total aircraft movements: 458,496
Compared to 2018: 2.5 per cent decrease
One of two primary airports serving the Greater Tokyo Area, Haneda Airport handles significantly more domestic flights, compared to international flights.
Total aircraft movements: 458,368
Compared to 2018: 1.1 per cent increase
Phoenix Deer Valley Airport is a public airport in Maricopa County, Arizona. It is owned by the City of Phoenix and acts as a reliever airport for Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX).
Total aircraft movements: 456,790
Compared to 2018: 10.0 per cent increase
The 2021 air cargo market is already recovering since hitting its lowest in April last year. The airline cargo industry has officially recovered from the pandemic.
In March, IATA CEO Alexander de Junyac said that “Air freight has returned to pre-crisis levels and this is much needed good news for the global economy.” Global demand for air cargo in February 2021 increased by 9% compared to February 2019. Also, the indicators of February 2021 are 1.5% more than January of the same year.
Assessing the air cargo situation, new IATA CEO Willie Walsh noted: “Demand for cargo transportation is not just recovering from the Covid-19 crisis, it is growing. Since demand is 9% higher than the pre-crisis level (February 2019), one of the main problems of air cargo is finding sufficient capacity. ”
Analysis of regional indicators for February showed that North America and Africa were the most effective in terms of growth in demand for air cargo transportation. In the North American market, carriers in February 2021 increased international demand by 8.5% compared to January 2019. In January 2021, the demand for cargo on the African continent increased by 22.4% compared to the same month in 2019. Experts believe that this was facilitated by the growth of trade between Africa and Asia.
Virtually all regions except Latin America reported improvements at pre-pandemic levels. The demand for air cargo in Latin America remains lower than in other parts of the world. In January, the volume of international cargo here decreased by 16.1% compared to the same month in 2019.
Due to the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic, airlines, back in 2020, began to adapt to new challenges and realities and recycle passenger aircraft for the transport of goods. In order to increase the volume of cargo, they began to use special bags for seats, a net for securing boxes. Some airlines have even started removing the seats to load as many boxes as possible.
Assessing this trend, IATA CEO Willie Walsh said, “I think the freight side of our business has done an incredible job supporting global trade. I think we are all grateful to both cargo and passenger airlines that have provided additional cargo capacity to ensure continued economic activity. ”
In 2021, many cargo companies continue to maximize their payloads, and passenger airlines are offering services to transport cargo with their empty passenger aircraft.
For example, Emirates has operated over 27,800 special cargo flights.
Today, Qatar Airways is among the leaders of the largest airlines in terms of the volume of flights performing only cargo transportation.
China Airlines has changed its development strategy and increased the payload capacity of 18 Boeing 747-400 freighters.
“China Airlines has been able to remain profitable and reach a new milestone through its strategy of prioritizing cargo over passenger services,” said operator chairman Su-Chen Xi. For the airline in 2021, cargo transportation will remain the main activity.
Economic research and analysis indicate that the air cargo market will be very active for the rest of the year. One of the reasons is that many enterprises are switching to air transportation due to extreme shipping delays caused by congestion in ports and overloading of ships. The manufacturing sector remains stable at this stage. Also, the export of personal protective equipment from Asia to Europe and the USA is now very powerful.
Pharmaceutical companies are rapidly increasing their supply of Covid-19 vaccines while actively using the air cargo industry. Therefore, one of the key trends in the development of air cargo transportation in 2021 is the transportation of vaccines.
Due to the peculiarities and requirements for the transportation of such cargo, air carriers are forced to have a well-thought-out logistics strategy. The number of shipments carried by air is gradually increasing, more vaccines are available and more countries are launching vaccination programs.
For example, Emirates SkyCargo shipps six different types of Covid-19 vaccines. The carrier also transports syringes around the world to support vaccinations.
SkyTeam Cargo has developed and launched a dedicated vaccine delivery program.
Cathay Pacific Cargo launches additional cargo flights to meet the demand for airborne vaccines.
Etihad Airways, Lufthansa Cargo, United Airlines and others reached an agreement with UNICEF in early 2021 to prioritize the supply of Covid-19 vaccines over other cargo. They also pledged to increase the lifting capacity if necessary.
Positive sentiment for development in 2021 is noticeable at Deutsche Post DHL, whose profit reached record levels in the first quarter. DP DHL Group CEO Frank Appel said that “Global trade continues to recover and vaccine distribution is in full swing, which makes me very optimistic about 2021 and beyond.”
Experts also suggest that during 2021, many world airlines will continue to convert passenger aircraft into full-fledged cargo aircraft. For example, SmartLynx Airlines Cargo removed the seats from two of its A321 aircraft in April to actively participate in the vaccine delivery.
The industry is experiencing a severe double recession that is cutting passenger and freight traffic. What were the results of 2020 for the aviation industry?
According to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), the cost of the coronavirus pandemic to the aviation industry last year amounted to $ 391 billion in lower revenues as 60% fewer passengers took to the skies.
Financial difficulties will continue into 2021 as airlines grapple with a double recession. Experts maintain their forecast for a prolonged drop in passenger demand. It will likely lead to a decrease in the number of airlines for several years.
According to ICAO estimates, the reduction in gross income of the aviation sector in the first half of the year will be from 163 to 194 billion dollars. But there is optimism in many quarters that business will start to improve as new COVID vaccines become available to more people.
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) estimates that the aviation sector’s revenue deficit was about $ 510 billion. At the time, the trade group said the airlines would lose a total of $ 118 billion in net profit. Last year, IATA twice revised its estimates downward as the crisis escalated.
A lack of liquidity has forced several carriers to go bankrupt and others to receive government aid or bankruptcy protection.
Overall, aviation operators received $ 500 billion less in revenue in 2020, according to ICAO. Airports lost $ 115 billion in expected revenues and air navigation service providers lost $ 13 billion in revenue.
Airlines carried 1.8 billion passengers in 2020, up from 4.5 billion a year earlier, according to an ICAO report.
The UN said passenger traffic could begin to improve after a dismal first quarter, depending on the effectiveness of COVID vaccination programs and new approaches to managing the pandemic. Aircraft occupancy is expected to be 40-47% below the 2019 baseline, after a 50% cut last year.
In the most optimistic scenario, passenger traffic is expected to recover to 71% of the 2019 level. A gloomier scenario suggests a recovery in the passenger business of only 49%. International traffic, which determines the number of operating wide-body aircraft that shippers need, are projected at 53% of the pre-crisis level. This is a forecast at best, and only 26% at worst.
Although the global fleet of all-cargo aircraft grew 22.4% to 673 units in 2020, according to ICAO, manufacturers, retailers and agricultural producers rely heavily on passenger flights to transport their goods. More than 50% of air traffic is transported by passenger aircraft. When passenger networks operate several times less than usual, there is a reduction in the available volumes for transportation, especially on transcontinental routes, where larger aircraft are required. This is why the downturn in international traffic is of particular concern to shippers.
The pandemic began to affect air travel in late January 2020 when an outbreak was discovered in Wuhan, China. Initially, the flight cancellations were limited to a few countries, but by the end of March, the air transport system had effectively stopped. At that time, the number of international passengers dropped 98% compared to the 2019 level, and the number of domestic passengers fell by 87%.
Passenger traffic recovered slightly during the summer, but the upward trend was short-lived and began to decline again in September, when a second wave of diseases hit Europe. Then the governments reintroduced restrictive measures. According to the latest data from IATA, international passenger traffic in November was down 88.3% from the previous year.
Recently, governments have responded to new, more prevalent strains of COVID by further restricting borders. Air Canada and WestJet this month began cutting flights and laying off workers after the Canadian government introduced pre-departure testing requirements in addition to local restrictions and quarantine measures.
New data from aviation analyst firm Cirium shows that average weekly flights are down less than a quarter from 2019 on Christmas Eve. But after the peak of the holidays, that figure dropped to 35% of the deficit. Cirium said about 30% of the world’s passenger fleet remains unused.
Aviation industry executives expressed disappointment at the strict travel restrictions and quarantine requirements, saying that a robust pre-departure testing regime can keep flights safe and help air carriers stay financially afloat.
On January 17, IATA appealed to the members of the European Union to agree on a single European digital certificate for COVID-19 vaccination. It would allow vaccinated individuals to travel freely across Europe without being tested for COVID-19. IATA has also developed a trial application that allows passengers to create a “digital passport”. It allows you to make sure that their pre-travel test or vaccination meets the requirements of the destination. Travelers can provide authorities and airlines with test and vaccination certificates to facilitate travel.
The ICAO report highlights that the restrictions on the pandemic have had a disproportionate impact on the international operations of carriers. In general, the volume of domestic passenger traffic decreased by 50%, and international – by 74%.
International flights continued to decline by about three quarters from the same period last year, compared with 35% of domestic flights, according to Cirium.
The Asia Pacific and North America regions have emerged as leaders in the global recovery in total passenger numbers due to their sizeable domestic markets. At this time, a sharp drop has been observed in Europe since September. Traffic in Latin America and the Caribbean improved in the fourth quarter, while recovery in Africa and the Middle East was less robust.
Based on materials from ICAO