As Covid-19 slows down to an all time low (compared to 2020), European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has stated that the famous cargo-in-the-cabin concept will now be ruled out starting from September 1, 2022. The cargo-in-the-cabin cam into existence due to grounding of passenger aircrafts in 2020, which was followed by growing e-commerce demand by the consumers. In order to adapt, huge investments were made into converting these passenger aircrafts into cargo-carrying cabins. As the Covid-19 equipments including the transportation of PPE kits seems to decline, EASA has made it clear that no exemptions will be extended beyond the current validity.
Nordic Air Cargo Symposium, held in Copenhagen on 5th of April, brought forward some key points on how the air cargo industry is looking currently and how it will be affected in future. With various industry specialist who graced the event with their knowledge of the market, the event tackled questions like ‘When will the cargo balance return to pre-covid levels?’.
The year 2025 was mentioned a few times as the speculated year of achieving the supply-demand balance. Ashwin Bhat, Lufthansa Cargo chief commercial officer, expressed that container port congestion will remain, e-commerce demand will continue to rise and supply chains will face disruption due to missing parts, all of which will favour air cargo.
However, on the flip-side, the cargo demand may be negatively effected given that the rate of inflation and cost of living has increased in the global market and that may influence the buying behaviour of people. Seabury Cargo commercial director Jonathan Mellink said that even-though there is enough capacity offered by the market, the demand has simply increased making it difficult to achieve the balance.
The view seems to be divided among industry specialists as to when this equilibrium can be achieved. With every week bringing new challenges to the market, only time will tell the correct answer to this big question.
Emirates Sky Cargo has achieved a milestone in their attempt to deliver vaccines around the globe. The carrier’s mission of supporting global communities started back in October 2020, and as recorded recently, the airline has flown over 1 billion doses in just 18 months to over 80 destinations using over 2000 flights. The senior vice president of Emirates cargo devision - Nabil Sultan, passes on the credit to their masterful planning involving cold chain facilities and advanced widebody aircrafts built around their location of Dubai hub.
When the demand grew, the carrier also formed Dubai Vaccine Logistics Alliance in 2021 with a set of Dubai-based companies to transport rapidly and more reliably. Additionally, they signed an MoU with UNICEF to prioritise transport and delivery of COVID-19 vaccines in support of the COVAX initiative.
On the 2nd of March, air freight industry suffered the loss of Antonov An-225 “Mriya” (The Dream) in town Gostomel near Kyiv due to the Russia-Ukraine war. 'The Dream’ may have been shattered but Antonov is willing to revive the aircraft and has established an International Fund for the same. The airlines have issued a statement on Facebook expressing their unwillingness to let the legendary aircraft die as they believe it represents modernity and ‘a symbol of world's highest scientific and technical achievements in modern transport aircraft construction’. The team at Antonov considers this project to act as an inspiration for the airline.
Since 2020, the Australian borders were sealed from rest of the world, disrupting much of country’s supply chain. However, Australia has been relaxing these rules lately and starting from 27th of March 2022, International Airlines Group (AIG Cargo) will be taking the advantage by carrying items like vegetables, fresh fruits, electronics, luxury goods and cosmetics into the region. IAG Cargo, the cargo handling division of airlines like British Airways, Iberia, Aer Lingus, Vueling and Level; will be using a B787-9 (789) widebody aircraft with the capacity to transport up to 13 tonnes of cargo flying from London Heathrow to Sydney via Singapore. Back in December 2021, UK-Australia signed a new trade deal removing Tariffs from UK exports. This will also play a significant role in this development.