Overcapacity tempers air cargo

The announcement last month of the establishment of a new air services agreement between the US and China, which will more than double the number of passenger fl ights by 2012 and offer airfreight operators “greatly expanded commercial freedom” constitutes, for the air freight part of the deal, a lot of hot air. “It is […]


The announcement last month of the establishment of a new air services agreement between the US and China, which will more than double the number of passenger fl ights by 2012 and offer airfreight operators “greatly expanded commercial freedom” constitutes, for the air freight part of the deal, a lot of hot air.

“It is absolutely historic,” declared US Transportation Secretary Mary Peters in a conference call after reaching agreement with her counterpart, Chinese Minister of Civil Aviation Yang Yuanyuan. “We’ve achieved a breakthrough agreement that opens the way for more frequent, more affordable and convenient air service between China and the United States.” Peters added that the two countries agreed to begin talks in 2010 on an “open skies” agreement, something the American side had hoped to achieve in this round of talks, which formed part of the broader Strategic Economic Dialogue led by US Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Chinese Vice Premier Wu Yi.

Apart from the evident benefi ts for the passenger side of the industry, one has to question what is so “historic” about the deal for the folks who fl y freighters to China? Or better, those who manage to continue to fl y to China despite the fact that the air cargo rates are dropping out of the sky because of a massive overcapacity.