May you live in interesting times

Generally used as a curse, this famous quote has a resonance suggesting a kinship to air cargo. After all, we all earn a living from an industry which seems to be perpetually bound up in ‘interesting times’. While it could, particularly after last year be seen as a curse, is deserves a more positive spin. […]


Generally used as a curse, this famous quote has a resonance suggesting a kinship to air cargo. After all, we all earn a living from an industry which seems to be perpetually bound up in ‘interesting times’. While it could, particularly after last year be seen as a curse, is deserves a more positive spin. With the industry now firmly gaining altitude after the freefall of last year and no significant turbulence in sight, industry players are now shifting gears from cautious optimism to a full-fledged positive outlook.

And along with this breath of fresh air, there is another scent — and it smells like change. For sure the crisis of last year played a crucial role — forcing carriers to streamline and become more efficient in every aspect of their business. Few would disagree that this ‘spring-cleaning’ of sorts was ultimately good for carries and the industry alike.

But the crisis had an even more far reaching impact, one that is more theoretical or strategic in nature. In short, it put a sharp focus on the issue of belly versus maindeck utilisation. Take for instance the Air France-KLM group that, as the severity of the crisis became clear, made a decisive move to shift its freighters out of the realm of its passenger business, placing them in the care of the group’s all-cargo division, Martinair.Air France-KLM continued to sell it’s ample belly capacity saying it was sufficient to meet the demand at the time. More recent rumours have emerged suggesting the Air France-KLM duo may exit the cargo realm altogether. More likely, Martinair would simply assume full responsibility for the group’s cargo activities, including the belly capacity of Air France and KLM.