From green shoots grow…

Now that the green shoots of global economic recovery have undeniably taken root – ever so tenderly, but rooted none-the-less – the air cargo industry should begin to think about what the future industry will look like. Things will never be quite the same after coming through what pretty much amounts to a proverbial ‘baptism […]


Now that the green shoots of global economic recovery have undeniably taken root – ever so tenderly, but rooted none-the-less – the air cargo industry should begin to think about what the future industry will look like. Things will never be quite the same after coming through what pretty much amounts to a proverbial ‘baptism of fire’.

The sheer speed and intensity of the air freight market crash stunned even hardened veterans and leaves many companies still reeling in its wake. That the industry now cheers because FTKs are only down 10-15 per cent year-on-year instead of down 20 per cent or more only months ago, pretty much sums it up.

It leads one to ponder what the industry will look like down the road. Will large dedicated freighters shrink in importance as ‘safer’ belly capacity becomes a more viable option, or perhaps smaller to medium sized freighters will replace the behemoths. Airbus and Boeing of course have their vested views on this.

And will carriers become reluctant to own capacity, or perhaps rely more on sale and lease-back type arrangements. Perhaps an altogether new model will emerge, as was suggested by one speaker at the IATA cargo conference in Bangkok earlier this year, in which cargo carriers outsource their entire cargo capacity, thus shedding much of the risk. Or, maybe the business model needs expanding, effectively taking a leaf out of the integrators’ book, to go beyond simply transporting goods from one airport to another.