The spread of Covid-19 across the world has had a devastating effect on the aviation industry, forcing airlines to ground swathes of aircraft as passenger demand has collapsed across the globe.
However, the air cargo industry has – so far at least – been a silver lining.
Demand has continued at such a decent clip that passenger airlines have even been deploying their redundant aircraft as makeshift freighters – everything from Dreamliners to B777F and B737s are being offered up for charter operations to keep supply chains moving.
Charter brokers and those flying freighters are also finding themselves in demand as the industry figures out ways to keep the world moving without the belly capacity that supply chains had become so reliant on.
With demand outstripping capacity, airfreight rates have also been on the ascendency.
The situation goes to demonstrate the importance of air cargo to the modern world – without aircraft our food, medical supplies and other important items would take weeks to transport internationally.
There are, however, some concerns about how long cargo demand could last. A few weeks ago it was the world’s manufacturing powerhouse that had gone into quarantine, now, however, it is the world’s main consumption centres that are being affected.
If people in Europe and the USA are stuck in their houses and are not going out and spending money, it has to be questioned whether demand will begin to tail off and if so, for how long?
Also, will the addition of bellyhold capacity back into the market take its toll on load factors over the coming weeks?
There will, of course, be high demand for medical supplies, food and other household items, such as hand wash and sanitiser.
Yet it remains to be seen whether this will be enough for the air cargo industry to continue to be the silver lining for aviation that it has been over the last couple of weeks.
Article by AirCargoNews