After the outbreak of the new crown epidemic, passenger routes were suspended on a large scale, and the lack of belly cabin capacity of passenger planes, which accounted for half of Air freight services, quickly changed the market supply and demand relationship. Large cargo planes became extremely busy, but they still could not stop the soaring freight rates. The scarce number of ultra-large transport aircraft An225, An124 and various military transport aircraft are widely used to transport materials from all over the world to make up for the capacity gap.
Increased contribution of freight business to revenue
Airlines that suffered heavy losses in passenger transportation seemed to realize the huge value of cargo business "overnight". When the number of cargo planes was not enough to meet the capacity demand, they even did not hesitate to convert a large number of passenger planes into the cargo business by simply refitting the cabins. .
A sample with the most significant impact of air cargo during the epidemic is in the Chinese market. According to data released by the Civil Aviation Administration of China, in 2020, when the belly compartment of a passenger aircraft carrying about 70% of the cargo volume is suspended, the cargo of Civil Aviation of China Mail transport volume still reached 6.766 million tons, equivalent to 89.8% in 2019; airport cargo and mail throughput reached 16.079 million tons, a year-on-year decrease of only 6 percentage points.
As the impact of the epidemic begins to fade, will air cargo return to its previous "normal state"? In the opinion of Brian Pearce, chief economist of the International Air Transport Association (IATA): "In the next few years, air cargo will continue to play a greater role than before the epidemic."
At a global media briefing held on May 11, Brian Pierce told media including China Times that in the past, freight revenue generally accounted for 10-15% of airlines’ total revenue, but now this This number has risen to 30-35%, and due to the continued restrictions on cross-border travel, many long routes will not return to normal in the next few years. Therefore, freight revenue will continue to account for a relatively high proportion of the airline's revenue structure.
"One benefit of the epidemic is that airlines will recognize the contribution of cargo business to revenue. When the entire industry is in the dark, this has become a bright spot for airline business." IATA Chairman Willie Wall What (Willie Walsh) said.
One of the huge needs is the transportation of the new crown vaccine. Because there has never been such a situation where billions of people in the world are facing the demand for vaccination before, and the vaccine itself is the only large-scale global air transportation due to its special conditions. The feasibility plan for distribution, according to IATA estimates, requires at least the capacity of 8,000 747 freighters to meet this demand.
The same impact also occurs in the field of cross-border e-commerce. The epidemic has changed people's lifestyles, which has also enabled e-commerce to develop vigorously, especially cross-border e-commerce will usher in a new outbreak period. According to the forecast issued by Deutsche Post's DHL Express, by 2024, cross-border e-commerce in the Asia-Pacific region will reach 2.5 trillion US dollars. To this end, DHL added 8 Boeing 777F orders at the beginning of this year and will also add more capacity in the Asia-Pacific region.
Kalitta Airlines, headquartered in the United States, also opened a five-week flight route for DHL Express from Cincinnati (CVG)-Los Angeles (LAX)-Sydney (SYD)-Singapore (HKG)-Nagoya (NGO)-LAX-CVG. This service adds 1,730 tons of weekly capacity to the network.
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